National Geographic : 1960 Sep
Kolwezi Copper Mine Works Around the Clock Long before the coming of the white man, central African tribesmen cast copper into bulky crosses for use as money. Europeans in 1906 formed the Union Minibre du Haut-Ka tanga to tap the Belgian Con go's rich veins. Open pits in the Kolwezi area yield cobalt as well as copper. Miners strip the over burden and break the ore with explosives. Huge shovels load trucks and trains with 10-ton bites. Headlamps of trucks streak this time exposure made at dusk. Glittering plant in the distance processes the ore. Pool at right reflects the glare. Unique photograph shows radioactive pitchblende, the ore from which atomic bombs are made, rolling toward an ele vator deep in Union Minibre's mine at Shinkolobwe, in the Congo. The NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC team that produced this article were the first jour nalists ever allowed to go into the mine. Miners push the carts by hand. Union Minibre produces most of the world's radium, as well as uranium, cadmium, ger manium, and other scarce metals.