The South Deep mine is located in the Far West Rand Goldfields and forms a part of the Witwatersrand Basin. The mine deposits lie beneath the Karoo Supergroup, Chuniesoort , Pretoria , Klipriviersberg and the Central Rand . The Central Rand group comprises detrital sedimentary rocks filled with quartz pebble conglomerates. The gold deposits are interrelated with sedimentary features such as unconformities and fluvial channels. The South Deep deposit has approximately 32.8Moz of gold reserves as of December 2018. The estimated uranium inventory at the mine is 37.5Mlb.
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The underground mine uses a combination of conventional drift and bench and low profile mining methods. The Upper Elsburg reef, the main target region of the mine, is mined using a fully mechanised drift and fill and long hole stoping. The Ventersdorp Contact Reef is mined using mechanised low profile mining. Ore from underground is taken to the surface by a conveyorsystem using the ventilation shaft headgear discharge bin. The semi autogenous grinding mill in the milling circuit is used for primary and secondary milling. Ore milling is done by the two overflow ball mills and the tailings are stored in the centralised tailings storage facility. Gold is recovered using four Knelson concentrators. Gold adsorption is conducted by an eight staged carousel type carbon in pulp circuit. The processing plant has a capacity of 220,000t a month.
The deep gold mine extends across an area of 4,268ha. It operates a gold mine accessed through two shaft systems, including the 2,995m deep twin shaft complex and the South Shaft complex. The mine was further explored and categorised into four areas, namely Old Mine, Current Mine, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Old Mine region is situated above the 90 Level and is accessed through the South Shaft complex. The Current Mine region lies between the 90 Level and 95 Level and is accessed through the twin shaft. Phase 1 will extend to 3,075m below the surface while Phase 2 will extend to a 3,500m depth.
Construction activities at South Deep include the installation of a tailings storage facility and deepening of the ventilation shaft. The works also include the additions to the metallurgical plant to increase its capacity. A planexion process control system was installed at the mine along with a two vertical silo facility for the surge capacity. Mine equipment includes trucks, ore passes, crushers, conveyors and shaft silos. An ice based underground cooling system was installed by 2015. Headgear was attached to the ventilation shaft and converted into a production shaft to increase the capacity.
Murray Roberts was awarded the contract to provide backfilling technologyfor the South Deep gold mine. Civcon won the contract for the construction of a brattice wall. Hatch South Africa was awarded the contract to design and engineer the new steel headgear for the mine.
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As of November 2019, there are 526 mines in South Africa, all of them listed on Africa Mining IQ. South Africa is a mineral rich country and listed as the largest producers of platinum , coal , gold and diamonds . South Africas mineral profile is large and diverse, with many opportunities for international and local investors.