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Beatrix Gold Mine

Mining quality issues resolved – approaching steady state production.
Turnaround in safety evident.
Ore reserve development accelerated.


Location: Beatrix is situated at latitude 28°15’S and longitude 26°47’E, near the towns of Welkom and Virginia, some 240km southwest of Johannesburg in the Free State Province of South Africa. The site is accessed via the N1 highway between Johannesburg and Kroonstad, and then via the R34. Geologically the mine is located along the Southern Rim of the Witwatersrand Basin. Infrastructure: It consists of four operating shafts and two gold plants. Geology: Exploiting auriferous palaeoplacers (reefs) of the Central Rand Group. The Beatrix Reef (BXR), and local facies variations thereof, constitutes 72 per cent of the Beatrix Ore Reserve with the Kalkoenkrans Reef (KKR) contributing 28 per cent. Mine type and depth: It is a large shallow to medium depth gold mine operating at depths between 600 and 2,155 metres below surface. Employees in service: The mine has 9,649 permanent employees and 905 contractors.


Beatrix’s safety performance regressed slightly in lost time injury frequency rates, while the fatal injury frequency rate remained steady at 0.13 per million man hours worked. Regrettably, four employees lost their lives during the year in four separate incidents, two of which were tramming related, one fall of ground and one where an employee fell down an orepass.

Phase 2 of the well accepted ‘Khuleseka’ (be protected) commenced during the fourth quarter, during which all supervisors were exposed to a two day intervention focusing on theory and practical exposure of technical skills required to improve their quality of work. Beatrix was also exposed to the external audit by DuPont as well as an internal audit of the Full Compliance Safety Management System. Remedial action plans emanating from these audits provide the platform for continuous health and safety improvements.

Beatrix maintained its OHSAS18001 and ISO14001:2004 (Environmental Management System) accreditation through the various external audits conducted in F2009.

The Beatrix methane-capture project has been approved by the Designated National Authority for the clean development mechanism in South Africa.

A project to capture and extract methane gas from underground at the South Section of the mine, as well as to capture and flare methane gas from identified surface boreholes, is progressing well with flaring of the gas scheduled to take place by the end of 2009. The objective of this project is to mitigate the environmental impact of mining activity at the mine with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and initially to generate carbon credits and, thereafter, to utilise methane for power generation.


Gold produced decreased by 11 per cent from 13,625 kilograms in F2008 to 12,164 kilograms in F2009. This was due to lower underground volumes at 3 shaft, mine call factor regression and safety related stoppages.

Tons milled decreased from 3.22 million in F2008 to 2.99 million in F2009. Even though no surface tons were processed the mine continues to examine and review the viability of the low grade surface dumps which appear to be economical at current gold prices.

Main development decreased from 40,812 metres in F2008 to 32,630 metres in F2009. The decrease was due to the focus on safety which required the cleaning of haulages, removing of mud accumulation and bringing the construction and the equipping of development ends up to standard. Exploratory secondary development was increased at the South section to define high grade areas for future stoping activities.

Revenue increased from R2,615 million in F2008 to R3,055 million in F2009. The higher gold price received was partially offset by the lower production.

Operating costs increased by 18 per cent from R1,725 million in F2008 to R2,038 million in F2009. This increase was mainly due to employee incentives, higher salaries and wages, as well as overtime and an increase in electricity tariffs.

Total cash cost increased from R120,382 per kilogram (US$515/oz) in F2008 to R159,799 per kilogram (US$552/oz) in F2009 as a result of the higher costs and lower production.

Operating profit, before amortisation, increased from R891 million in F2008 to R1,018 million in F2009. Operating margin decreased slightly from 34 per cent in F2008 to 33 per cent in F2009.

Capital expenditure increased from R577 million in F2008 to R629 million in F2009. The majority of this expenditure was on accelerated ore reserve development across the mine. Development at 3 shaft, 24 level, is nearing completion and progressing as planned on 25 and 26 levels.

Notional cash expenditure increased from R168,903 per kilogram (US$723/oz) in F2008 to R219,254 per kilogram (US$757/oz) in F2009.

F2010 Focus Areas

  • Safe production management;
  • Stabilising stoping, development and production;
  • Increase flexibility by developing the ore body with emphasis on the continued introduction and delivery of development mechanisation initiatives;
  • Full implementation and sustained application of consistent drilling, blasting and explosive usage to maintain a high MCF and contribute towards improved gold recovery; and
  • Ongoing implementation and delivery of the Beatrix Social and Labour Plan.

Lost Day Injury Frequency Rates
per million man hours worked


Beatrix Gold Mine

          2009   2008   2007   2006  
  Main development   km   32.6   40.8   43.8   35.9  
  Main on-reef (development)   km   6.7   8.3   6.4   6.9  
  (value)   cm g/t   963   974   967   1,135  
  Area mined   '000m   565   625   703   686  
  Productivity   m2/TEC*   4.5   4.9   5.6   5.5  
  Tons milled Underground '000   2,991   3,215   3,590   3,551  
    Surface '000          
    Total '000   2,991   3,215   3,590   3,551  
  Yield Underground g/t   4.1   4.2   4.7   5.2  
    Surface g/t          
    Combined g/t   4.1   4.2   4.7   5.2  
  Gold produced Underground kg   12,164   13,625   16,903   18,541  
    Surface kg          
    Total kg   12,164   13,625   16,903   18,541  
    Total '000oz   391   438   543   596  
  Operating costs Underground R/ton   681   536   432   396  
    Surface R/ton          
    Total R/ton   681   536   432   396  
  Gold sold   kg   12,164   13,625   16,903   18,541  
  Total cash cost   US$/oz   552   515   377   354  
      R/kg   159,799   120,382   87,251   72,768  
  Notional cash expenditure   US$/oz   757   723   584   485  
      R/kg   219,254   168,903   126,812   99,892  
  Net earnings   Rm   321.8   332.4   370.8   185.3  
  Capital expenditure   Rm   629.4   576.6   592.8   447.3  

*TEC = Total Employees Costed