OPERATIONS South Africa Region

South Africa region

A material restructuring at South Deep was announced in August 2018, aimed at reducing the workforce and mobile equipment levels in alignment with consolidating mining activity to increase focus and to recalibrate the cost base with anticipated levels of production.

      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 back fill is the primary bulk mining method. Mining method and extraction sequence optimisation is ongoing.  
  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 sub-vertical 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 four 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 SoW east and west areas, situated south and down dip of NoW, 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 re-treatment, the South Deep plant also includes a tailings re-treatment 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 TSF 1, 2, 3 and 4. TSF 2 is undergoing re-mining using hydraulic mining methods using a water cannon. The top portion of TSF 1 has also been re-mined 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. 2021 saw the mine continue embedding improvements and maintain traction on positive productivity trends underpinning the ramp-up.

These were significant improvements in key performance measures during 2021 despite three waves of Covid-19-related interruptions. Ore mined increased by 36% to 1,540kt in 2021 from 1,136kt in 2020. Similarly, gold production increased by 29% to 9,102kg (292,634oz) in 2021 from 7,056kg (226,900oz) in 2020 due to improved volume.

The productivity improvement intervention introduced in 2019 is delivering sustained results. This has been supplemented by 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 enhance planning, execution, work management and further enhance performance. These improvements are in line with the mine production ramp-up plan to steady state annual output of 12 tonnes gold.

Salient features

Mineral Resources   Mineral Reserves
61.2Moz*   32.2Moz*

* 90.538% attributable to Gold Fields (life-ofmine (LoM) 2020)



Martin Preece

Executive Vice President:
South Africa

Martin joined Gold Fields as Executive Vice President: South Africa in May 2017. He previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at De Beers South Africa after being the Group’s Technical Advisor leading its Venetia mine optimisation study. Martin has 30 years of mining experience, starting his career as a learner miner and gradually building up his experience before taking up mine manager positions at various operations. After moving to Group level at De Beers he held positions as mine strategist and business development manager before becoming chief operating officer.





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