INVESTORS AND MEDIA Media release
On the back of material improvement in production and profitability over the past few years, Gold Fields' South Deep Gold Mine today showcased some of the key projects that will further improve the sustainability of the mine.
Currently, South Deep's Life-of-Mine (LoM) is in excess of 80 years, which means that the mine will be a critical asset for Gold Fields for decades to come.
South Deep has transformed from a conventional mine to a world-class bulk mechanised mining operation by putting people first, entrenching strong technical discipline and driving innovation and technology.
The projects highlighted during a media visit today were:
Responsible management of Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF)
The mine's Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) comprise the active Doornpoort TSF and two older dormant TSFs. Expansion of the Doornpoort TSF was recently completed so that it now has sufficient capacity for the mine's LoM.
"In terms of managing our TSFs, we are fully committed to minimising our impact on people and the environment through the responsible management of the resources under our care, now and in the future," said Stephen Joseph, Head of Metallurgy. All of Gold Fields' TSFs are being managed to achieve full conformance with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management by 2025 the latest.
For more information on how South Deep manages its TSFs see https://www.goldfields-southdeep.co.za/downloads/send/33-publications/789-safely-and-responsibly-managing-our-tailings-storage-facilities-tsfs
Innovation and technology at the heart of our operations – surface and underground
South Deep showcased projects that demonstrate the adoption of innovation and technology as part of its everyday activities. This is headlined by the mine's state-of-the-art surface control centre, which serves as the digital nerve centre of the mine's activity across the value chain.
"All areas of the mine are connected and converge in the control centre. All processes, targets, achievements and potential bottlenecks throughout the value chain are visible at any point in time from one central location. This allows us to make quick decisions and take action to resolve any issues that may arise. In short, the use of data analytics enables us to improve safety, efficiencies and output," said Johan Sliep, Head of Technical and Production Intelligence Systems.
South Deep has also embraced and deployed technology underground. South Deep recently acquired a Rhino 100 Master Driller – a multi-functional, mobile raise bore driller – which allows for faster, more accurate drilling, and a much bigger breaking point for blasting in the process of long hole stoping.
Benford Mokoatle, VP: South Deep noted: "The use of technological solutions makes mining safer, smarter, more meaningful and valuable. Our employees are upskilled and provided with the necessary training and skills to perform their jobs optimally in a safer environment."
Commissioning the Khanyisa solar plant
With construction of the 50MW Khanyisa* solar plant completed, South Deep is in the process of finalising the commissioning and optimising of the plant. The commissioning process involves balancing supply and demand of self-generated electricity to fully optimise the plant and ensure maximum benefit.
The South Deep Khanyisa solar plant with the Twin Shafts in the background
The R715m solar plant will enhance the sustainability of South Deep and contribute to Gold Fields' long-term commitment to Net Zero. South Deep currently consumes around 494GWH of electricity per year which represents 10% of the mine's annual costs and 93% of its carbon emissions. The solar plant can generate 50MW or 103GWh/year.
This will have major benefits for the social and economic sustainability of South Deep, and mitigate negative impacts on the environment by:
In time, the Khanyisa solar plant's capacity will increase to 60MW, unlocking even further benefits.
Said Martin Preece, Executive Vice President Gold Fields South Africa: "Not only will the solar plant result in electricity cost savings and reduce our reliance on the erratic national grid, but it will also help to mitigate our impact on climate change. Decarbonisation is vital and the right thing to do. We want to be a part of the solution and will continue to drive energy efficiency initiatives; replace grid power with renewables such as solar, and wind; and replace our diesel fleet with battery electric vehicles over time.
"South Deep has made significant strides towards delivering sustainable performance, and we will continue to work towards positioning our mine for the future for our people, our communities, our stakeholders and our shareholders," he concluded.