OPERATIONS South Africa Region

South Africa region

South Deep continues to improve across most key performance measures and production is in line with the ramp-up plan towards an annual gold output of 12t from 2024 onwards. Productivity and cost improvement programmes introduced in 2019 are delivering sustainable results, and further enhancements will ensure continued delivery.

      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 southwards to the Wrench Fault. A bulk massive mining method is applied, resulting in a higher Resources to Reserves conversion ratio.
  3. The South of Wrench (SOW) area is split into two, 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.

For tailings retreatment, 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 dormant TSFs, known as TSFs 1, 2, 3 and 4. TSF 2 is undergoing remining using hydraulic mining methods. The top portion of TSF 1 has also been remined to date. 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 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.

The Doornpoort TSF was commissioned in April 2011 and three upstream wall raises have been constructed. The Doornpoort TSF incorporates a gravity decant system with drainage structures beneath the tailings. This facility has a remaining LOM storage capacity of ~149Mt (phase 2).


Regional information

South Deep is a flagship Gold Fields asset positioned to unlock significant value. The mine achieved most key performance measures for FY2022 with production outputs in line with the mine production ramp-up plan towards 12t gold output annually from 2024 (100%).

Gold production increased by 12% to 10,200kg (328koz) in 2022 from 9,102kg (293koz) in 2021. Ore mined increased by 2% to 1,571kt while waste mined increased by 3% to 195kt in 2022. Total development increased by 13% to 11,594m in 2022 from 10,282m in 2021. These improvements are largely driven by improved operational efficiencies and additional fleet deployed in line with the production ramp up plan.

Productivity improvement programmes that were introduced in 2019 are sustainably delivering results and further enhancements will ensure sustained delivery. Some of the enhancements include the introduction of an operating model that will enable the business to operate at the right level, build process capability and ensure process stability. This will improve planning, execution, work management and further enhance performance.

Salient features

28.7Moz gold   20.2Moz gold
Proved and probable   Measured and indicated
    6.0Moz gold



Executive Vice President:
South Africa Region

Executive Vice President: South Africa Region (Acting) 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 acting Executive Vice President for the South African region on 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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