City explorer documents tin mine and tunnels

A recent video by vlogger Adam Spires of an old tin mine in Vredehoek has gone viral.

There is a labyrinth underneath us that is just waiting to be explored. This is according to video blogger (vlogger) Adam Spires, whose recent video of a tin mine under Table Mountain has gone viral.

The tin mine, which dates back to 1910, was only in use for a short period of time.

At the time of writing, the video on Mr Spires’ Facebook page had been viewed more than 70 000 times.

Another recent video by Mr Spires, on the tunnels under Cape Town and the water crisis has notched up 200 000 views.

But who is Adam Spires?

At night he works for a US tech company and during the day he explores Cape Town’s abandoned places. He said someone reached out to him and suggested that he check out the tin mine.

According to John Yeld’s book, Mountains In The Sea, the mine was started by a company called the Vredehoek Tin Company.

“A much more substantial mining operation was carried out by the Vredehoek Tin Company which produced cassiterite – oxide of tin, assayed at 70 percent – at Prospect Hill on the slopes of Devil’s Peak in 1912,” Mr Yeld writes in his book.

It continues: “At the height of the mine’s activity 100 men were employed and a shaft reportedly 60m deep was sunk. Later, a horizontal tunnel about 100m long was driven in to connect with the bottom of the shaft… But this mine did also not last long, and was abandoned after the machinery was removed.”

There is also record of an advert for the opening of the mine that appeared in the Cape Argus in 1902.

The video shows Mr Spires exploring the abandoned mine with a guide, squeezing through some tiny spaces and finding on old lunch box.

“I’m a firm believer in documenting your life. Some people keep journals and diaries but I decided what I’d do is make videos.

“I thought that was pretty exciting. I started learning how to edit and started making these videos.”

He said his friends convinced him to start a Facebook page last year.

Mr Spires said that he ended up teaching himself how to make these videos: “Vlogging kind of just happened and it grew organically.”

He said the most important thing to remember when exploring underground, was safety. “You have to go with someone who knows what they’re doing,” he said. He added that he was enjoying exploring abandoned places in Cape Town at the moment.

“Government tends to shut these kinds of things down instead of saying, you know what, let’s explore it and generate revenue. Look at the bunkers at Signal Hill. It is not being used and rotting away. They could actually do tours that could provide people with jobs. It is part of our military history. The country has so much other issues and problems that these things just fall to the side and it’s sad.

“It’s a part of our history. This is a part of our heritage. It’s underground, forgotten about and needs to be revived. Things are protected when there is a public interest. There are so many cool heritage sites around Cape Town and with Heritage Day coming we need to get out there.”

He said the video on the tunnels under Cape Town was a public interest piece. “I wanted to find out about it. I heard about these tunnels that run under Cape Town and the springs under Table Mountain.”

He said that he got hold of a couple of people that knew about it to go and take a look. “There is a lot of water running under here. The second part of it is they’re super interesting. You’ve got all these underground tunnels. There is like a whole other world down there and people don’t really know about it.”

He added that he wasn’t surprised by the amount of interest his videos received on social media. “I knew that there was going to be a lot of interest,” he said.

To check out the videos of the Table Mountain tin mine, as well as the tunnels, see Mr Spires Facebook page at