Mining in Noordhoek!
Zilvermyn was first dug in 1687 as part of Simon van der Stel’s ambition to discover and exploit the Cape’s mineral wealth for the Dutch East India Company and make the Colony economically viable. No silver was ever discovered but a little manganese was extracted in later years.
In its early years Noordhoek produced good quality salt from the salt pans (which are now under the waters of Lake Michelle) until well into the 1800’s. As early as 1815 the government advertised for tenders to run the mine. In 1844 the pan was sold to Pierre Roche a Frenchman who had come out to the Cape in 1803, for just over £130. At the height of its production the mine produced 6500 bags of salt.
More recently, kaolin, a component used in the manufacturing of fine porcelain, glazes for pottery and cosmetics, was discovered beneath Chapman’s Peak where it has been extensively mined. The scars left by the mining can be seen just above the scenic drive.