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Rebase plan proving fruitful for South Deep - miningweekly.com

Friday, 10 March 2017

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) - Gold Field’s Westonaria-based South Deep mine is rapidly beginning to bear the fruit of its long-awaited rebase plan with improved economics, a safer environment, improved efficiency and higher mined tonnes.

South Deep produced 290 000 oz of gold in 2016 and is expected to produce 315 000 oz this year.

Mined volumes are set to grow to 11.1 t in 2018, 12.2 t in 2019 and 13.6 t in 2020. Volumes will then increase to 15.3 t in 2021, before reaching steady-state production of 15.4 t in 2022.

In terms of plans for this year and the foreseeable future, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland noted during a site visit to the mine on Thursday that, South Deep had, in the past two years, undergone a major overhaul, with the addition of an “all new” management team. “We wanted the [new] team to have time to assess where we were with the mine and for them to work out what they felt was achievable. Our plan is to be profitable in the long term,” he said.

Holland said the mine was experiencing “improved resolution” between what it is achieving currently and the longer-term plans.

“In 2016, [South Deep] got to a cash-positive situation for the first time ever,” he said, adding, however, that it was still early days with a lot of work still to be done to get the mine to steady state.

Meanwhile, to reduce fleet maintenance cost and reduce downtime, South Deep has built an extensive underground workshop and maintenance facility to undertake almost all repairs and maintenance of its new mechanised fleet. This includes regular scheduled services and checks, full stripping, overhauling and rebuilding, as well as sandblasting and respraying to extend the life of the mine’s mechanised machinery.

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