By Dominic Ellis
This list, compiled by Further Africa, highlights the top 10 gold mines in the country by proven gold reserves
10: Target Gold Mine – 452Koz
The Target 1 Gold Mine, which is owned by Harmony Gold, produced 72,146 oz of gold in 2020. Located at the Welkom gold fields, the proven and probable mineral reserves were estimated at 5.1 million tonnes (Mt) grading 4.28g/t gold, as of June 2020.
09: Moab Khotsong Gold Mine – 808Koz
The Moab Khotsong gold mine, also operated by Harmony Gold, is located in Gauteng, approximately 180kms southwest of Johannesburg. The underground mine’s economic horizons include the Vaal Reef and C-Reef, forming part of the Witwatersrand Basin Supergroup.
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08: Doornkop Gold Mine – 896Koz
The Doornkop gold mine, also operated by Harmony Gold, is a mature, deep-level single-shaft operation (reaching 2,219m), located 30kms west of Johannesburg. Its remaining life is currently 14 years. Located on the northwestern rim of the Witwatersrand Basin, the Doornkop gold mine is concentrated on the South Reef orebody.
07: Barberton Mines – 1.66MnOz
Barberton is both the site of South Africa’s first gold discovery, as well as its first gold mine. Gold mining in Barberton is still a valuable centre of high-quality product, and its gold deposits are known for their nugget-like properties. Last year the DMRE granted the renewal of Pan African Resources’ mining rights at Barberton for 30 years, and its production guidance is approximately 100,000oz per year.
06: East Driefontein Mine – 2.5MnOz
Located 60kms southwest of Johannesburg, the East Driefontein gold mine has recovered over 102.5MnOz since its establishment in 1952. Forming part of the Witwatersrand Basin, the mine has total gold mineral reserves of 2.5MnOz and also represents one of the country’s largest uranium reserves. Mineralization of gold occurs at depths of between 1,000m and 4,000m and is hosted in the CLR and VCR orebodies, with minor contributions to the resource base deriving from the Middelvlei Reef.
05: Kloof Gold Mine – 2.6MnOz
Located approximately 60kms southwest of Johannesburg in the Witwatersrand Basin, the Kloof gold mine is wholly owned by Gold Fields and consists of three sections: Kloof, Libanon, and Leeudoorn, which were all consolidated under one operating division in 2002. As of 31 December 2020, Kloof had surface and underground gold Mineral Reserves of 4.7MnOz and Mineral Resources of 33MnOz.
04: Blyvoor Gold Mine – 5.32MnOz
Established in 1937, the Blyvoor gold mine was the first in the West Wits line and, due to its widespread reserve base, is expected to retain its lifespan until 2030. Blyvoor contains an estimated 5.32MnOz of proven ore reserves and is operated by DRDGOLD SA. The underground mine is located 70km southwest of Johannesburg in the northwestern section of the Witwatersrand Basin and contains two gold-bearing horizons, the Carbon Leader Reed and Main Reef, with formation thicknesses of between 5-20cm.
03: Kusasalethu Mine – 7.4MnOz
The Kusasalethu gold mine, formerly known as Elandsrand, located 90kms west of Johannesburg, forms part of the West Wits Line. With an annual production of 445,000oz and proven reserves of 7,54MnOz, the mine is currently being deepened to extend its operational lifespan by a further 18 years. The mine is owned by Harmony Gold and is operated at a depth of 3,388m, marking its deepest mine.
02: South Deep Gold Mine – 32.8MnOz
Located in the Witwatersrand Basin in the Gauteng province, the South Deep gold mine has estimated reserves of 32.8MnOz. With a depth of 2,995m below the surface, the mine is also the seventh deepest in the world and contains a large resource base of uranium. The mine was acquired by Goldfields in 2006, and is owned through its subsidiary, Newshelf 899, now operated by GFI Joint Venture Holdings Proprietary and Gold Fields Operations.
01: Mponeng Gold Mine – 45.81MnOz
The Mponeng gold mine is the deepest in the world from ground level and at average depths of between 2,800m and 3,400m, the descent from the surface to the bottom of the mine takes over an hour. The mine is also one of the richest in the world, with ore grades of over 8 grams per ton and contains gold reserves estimated at 45.81 million ounces (Moz). Expected to be in operation until 2027, the mine was purchased from AngloGold Ashanti by Harmony Gold in 2020.