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 mine, using an owner mining workforce. Operations are accessed through development and a 5.5m high destress cut to manage rock stress and seismic activity. A number of selective mining methods, including drifts and benches, are employed but long-hole stoping with paste fill is the primary bulk mining method. Significant focus has been on frontline coaching to improve compliance to stope design and productivity. Mining method and extraction sequence optimisation is ongoing.  
  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 (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 both the South Shaft and Twin Shaft complexes
2. The NoW area, directly south of CM, comprises six mining corridors separated by regional pillars that extend southwards to the Wrench fault. A bulk non-selective mining method is applied here resulting in a higher Resources to Reserves conversion ratio
3. SoW East and West, situated south of NoW, which will be mined in the same manner as NoW
  Mineralisation characteristics  
  • Mineralisation hosted by conglomerates (reefs)
  • Laterally continuous with long-range predictability
  • Clear patterns of predictable mineralisation governed by sedimentary characteristics
  • Ore body definition and resource modelling programmes are ongoing
Regional information

South Deep demonstrated a remarkable improvement in most production metrics during 2019 and generated positive cash flow

Achievement of the overall targets for the new plan resulted from a culmination of initiatives driving organisational culture, systems, processes, technical improvements and foundational work completed in 2018. Gold production at the mine increased by 41% to 6,907kg (222,100oz) in 2019. The increased gold production resulted from an increase in both volume and grade mined. This also led to total AIC decreasing by 31% to R585,482/kg (US$1,259/oz) in 2019 from R854,049/kg (US$2,012/oz) in 2018, together with the temporary postponement of new mine development capital.

The restructuring embedded in 2019 incorporated a reduced workforce and mobile equipment levels aligned to overall mining activity that increased focus on the core productivity process and supported a recalibration of the cost base. The anticipated levels of production have been achieved quarter on quarter.

Going forward, emphasis is on South Deep continuing to show substantive progress on the mine’s core strategic project themes, KPIs and enablers in the short to medium term. Sustaining traction in these areas remains integral to facilitating delivery on the production ramp-up, and is pivotal to maintaining the mine’s trajectory to deliver LoM steady state volumes and projected financial metrics.

Salient points

Mineral Resources   Mineral Reserves
60.1Moz*   32.8Moz*
(+7% net of depletion)   (flat year-on-year net of depletion)

* 90.694% attributable to Gold Fields


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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