South Africa

South Deep, which is on a better footing following the mine resetting, is building up to 380koz per annum which the mine is expected to reach on a steady state monthly run rate in the latter part of 2026. With its substantial resource and long life, this mine presents a unique opportunity for longevity of producing quality ounces.

      SOUTH DEEP  
  Mining method   South Deep is an underground bulk-mechanised mine using a mix of full-time employees and contractors. Reserves are accessed through access development, destress and shadow development cuts to manage rock stress and seismic activity. A few selective mining methods, including drifts and benches, are employed but long-hole stoping with backfill is the primary bulk mining method. Given the unique mining method, there is a continuous extraction sequence and mine layout optimisation.  
  Mining operational infrastructure  

The workings are accessed from the surface through two shaft systems: the Twin Shaft Complex (main and ventilation shafts), of which the main shaft comprises a single drop to 110A level, a depth of 2,998m; the vent shaft to 110 level at a depth of 2,947m; and the South Shaft Complex, which is a subvertical system (three operating shafts) to 95 level at a depth of 2,786m.

The mine is divided into three main areas:

  1. Current mine (CM), characterised by selective mining methods scattered over a large area originally exploited by means of conventional tabular mining. CM is accessed from three active levels (90, 93 and 95) from the South Shaft and Twin Shaft complexes
  2. The North of Wrench (NOW), directly south and down dip of CM, comprises six mining corridors separated by regional pillars that extend southward to the Wrench Fault. A bulk massive mining method is applied, resulting in a higher Resources to Reserves conversion ratio
  3. The SOW area is split into two sub-areas, SOW east and SOW west, situated south and down dip of NOW. This area will be mined in the same manner as NOW and effectively represent a “new mine” extension to the LOM footprint
  Mineral processing and TSFs   The South Deep processing plant consists of a conventional SAG/ball milling circuit, a gravity gold recovery circuit and a conventional CIL/CIP circuit. Final product from the gravity and CIP circuits is smelted into doré bars for refining at Rand Refinery.

The South Deep plant also includes a tailings retreatment section that consists of a thickener followed by a dedicated CIL circuit.

South Deep has one active TSF, the Doornpoort TSF, and four inactive TSFs, known as TSFs 1, 2, 3 and 4.

TSFs 1 and 2 are being reclaimed using hydraulic mining methods. TSFs 1 and 2 were commissioned in 1968 and operated as upstream-raised paddock dams. These TSFs cover a combined footprint area of 69ha and have a maximum height of 47m. TSFs 1 and 2 have a High B ANCOLD consequence classification.

TSFs 3 and 4 were commissioned in 1982 and are also upstream-raised paddock dams. These TSFs cover a combined footprint area of 100ha and have a maximum height of 41m. Deposition on these TSFs ceased in 2011. TSFs 3 and 4 have a High C ANCOLD consequence classification

The Doornpoort TSF was commissioned in April 2011 and has an ANCOLD consequence classification of High B. The stage two development was completed in October 2022. This facility has a remaining LOM storage capacity of ~180Mt.


COUNRTY information

South Deep is a flagship Gold Fields asset and remains well-positioned to unlock significant value for the Group. While 2023 was a challenging year for the mine – driven by high inflation and a slower mine production ramp-up toward the target of 12t annual gold output from 2027 (100%) – South Deep continues to work toward this goal.

Gold production decreased by 2% to 10,021kg (322koz) in 2023 from 10,200kg (328koz) in 2022. Ore mined increased by 3% to 1,614kt from 1,571kt in 2022, while waste mined increased by 74% to 339kt in 2023 from 195Kt in 2022. The increase in waste mined was a result of mining out most of the low-grade destress cuts and mining shifting to waste development cuts in line with the mine plan. Total development decreased by 1% to 11,436m in 2023, down from 11,594m in 2022.

The Mineral Reserve estimate net of depletion was 28,239koz, a decrease of 440koz (2%), and the Exclusive Mineral Resource estimate net of depletion of Measured and Indicated Resources was 19.980koz, a decrease of 241koz (1%). Inferred Resources was 5,964koz, a decrease of 7koz (0%) from 2022. Changes in Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves are largely due to depletion and changes in cutoffs due to cost inflation.

Salient features

28.2Moz gold   20.0Moz gold
Proved and probable   Measured and indicated
    6.0Moz gold





Executive Vice President:
South Africa

Mr Mokoatle is a geologist with over 27 years' experience in the mining industry. He joined Gold Fields in October 2017 as General Manager for South Deep and became executive Vice President for Gold Fields South Africa on 1 June 2023, after serving as acting EVP since 1 July 2022. .

Prior to joining Gold Fields, Mr Mokoatle spent seven years with AngloGold Ashanti and 15 years with De Beers, where he was the Head of MRM and Technical Services before taking on the role as a General Manager for the Voorspoed and Venetia mines.

He is a trustee for the South Deep Education Trust, South Deep Community Trust and the South Deep Joint Venture Rehabilitation Trust.


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