Beatrix is a large, shallow to intermediate level gold mining and processing operation located in the Free State Goldfields of the Witwatersrand Basin, near the town of Welkom in the Free State Province of South Africa, 240 km south-west of Johannesburg.
As of 31 December 2020, Beatrix has total surface and underground gold mineral reserves of 1.2 million oz and mineral resources of 11 million oz. Beatrix also holds 27 million lbs of uranium resources.
At Beatrix, we’re focused on optimizing 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 utilising existing Beatrix infrastructure.
Beatrix was one of the assets acquired by Sibanye-Stillwater when Gold Fields International completed its February 2013 unbundling transaction. Mining operations have been carried out in the Free State Goldfields since the 1930’s and gold has been produced at Beatrix since 1983.
Gold and uranium mineralisation is contained in paleo-placer conglomerates, locally termed reefs. The principal mining activity takes place 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 level some 2,055 m below surface. Mining is focused on open ground and pillars using scattered conventional breast mining and pillar extraction. Mining operations also take place on surface rock dumps.
The 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 108.8 million tonnes (a surplus of 82.2 million tonnes over life-of-mine deposition requirements).
Beatrix has a converted mining right issued under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act which was valid until 6 February 2019 while a renewal application has been submitted in July 2018 and is currently pending.
A preliminary feasibility study of the Bloemhoek decline project completed during 2019, demonstrates the economic potential for extraction of the orebody below the current 3 Shaft infrastructure, to the north of 3 Shaft, into the SOFS mining right area. The inclusion of this area would also allow for the mining of the lower grade Vlakpan area to the west of 3 Shaft and possibly extend the LoM for the whole Beatrix operation to 2031.