Beatrix is a large, mature, shallow to intermediate level gold mining and processing operation located in the Free State goldfields of the Witwatersrand Basin, in the Lejweleputswa District Municipality, near the town of Welkom in the Free State Province of South Africa, 280km south-west of Johannesburg.
At 31 December 2021, Beatrix had total surface and underground gold Mineral Reserves of 0.9Moz and Mineral Resources of 9.9Moz. Beatrix also holds 27Mlb of uranium resources.
At Beatrix, we are focused on optimising the mineral resource, stabilising production profiles at current performance levels, reducing pay limits through quality mining and cost reduction, and achieving regional synergies with our Southern Free State project area using existing Beatrix infrastructure.
Beatrix was one of the three original assets acquired by Sibanye when Gold Fields International completed its unbundling transaction in February 2013. Mining operations have been carried out in the Free State goldfields since the 1940s and gold has been produced at Beatrix since 1983.
Gold and uranium mineralisation is contained in paleo-placer conglomerates, or reefs. Mining activity takes place principally on the Beatrix Reef. Additional reefs mined include the VS5, the Aandenk and the Kalkoenkrans. The orebody is accessed from surface via vertical shafts, with the deepest operating some 2,055m below surface. Mining is focused on open ground and pillars using scattered conventional breast mining and pillar extraction. Gold is also extracted from the operation’s surface rock dumps.
Current mine infrastructure consists of three producing shaft complexes and one operating carbon-in-leach processing plant, Beatrix 1, which processes underground ore and surface rock dump material at a rate of approximately 238 tonnes per day. Beatrix 2 Plant is currently under care and maintenance. Tailings are contained in two tailings storage facilities with a combined capacity of 108.8Mt (a surplus of 82.2Mt over life-of-mine deposition requirements).
Beatrix has a converted mining right issued under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) which was valid until 6 February 2019. A renewal application submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in July 2018 to extend the mining right by 30 years is currently pending approval.
A definitive feasibility study of the Bloemhoek decline project was completed during 2021, demonstrates the economic potential for extraction of the orebody below the current 3 Shaft infrastructure, to the north into the Southern Free State (SOFS) project mining right area. This extension would extend 3 shaft’s life of mine by five years. This project has not yet been approved for execution.