Driefontein is a large, mature, shallow to ultra-deep level gold mining and processing operation located in the Far West Rand Goldfield of the Witwatersrand Basin, near the town of Carletonville in the Gauteng Province of South Africa, 70km west of Johannesburg.
At 31 December 2021, Driefontein had total gold Mineral Reserves of 3.0Moz and gold Mineral Resources of 10.9Moz.
At Driefontein, 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 targeting secondary reefs on an incremental basis above existing infrastructure.
Driefontein was one of the assets acquired by Sibanye when Gold Fields unbundled its South African operations in February 2013. Mining operations have been carried out in the Far West Rand goldfields since the late 19th century and at Driefontein since the 1930s.
Gold and uranium mineralisation is contained in paleo-placer conglomerates, locally termed as reefs. The principal mining activity takes place on the Multiband Carbon Leader Reef, which constitutes almost 62% of Driefontein’s mineral reserves. Additional reefs mined include the Ventersdorp Contact Reef and the Middlevlei Reef.
The orebody is accessed from the surface via vertical shafts, with the deepest operating level some 3,240m below surface. Mining is focused on open ground and pillars using scattered conventional breast, mini-longwall stoping. The retreatment of surface rock dumps at Driefontein for gold residue was completed in 2018.
The current mine infrastructure consists of nine shaft systems, including one tertiary shaft and three sub-shafts systems, four of which are producing. One mineral processing plant is in operation – No. 1 carbon-in-pulp – processing underground ore and low-grade surface rock dump material at a rate of approximately 240 tonnes per day.
The four producing shaft systems mine various contributions from pillars and open ground. 2 Shaft is used solely for hoisting purposes and a further two are being used for pumping. Some of the older shafts are on care-and-maintenance and are planned for closure in 2022, following a footprint optimisation project to contain costs. A mineral processing plant situated close to the centre of operations treats underground material.
A successful exploration drilling of the VCR is underway at 1 and 5 shafts. It contributed to a 0.3Moz increase in Mineral Reserves in 2021 and is likely to continue playing a critical role in securing life-of-mine extensions at these shafts.
Tailings are contained in two active tailings storage facilities with a combined capacity of 21.8Mt tonnes (a surplus of 10.2Mt over life-of-mine deposition requirements).
Driefontein has a converted mining right issued under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act valid until 29 January 2037 in respect of a total mining area of 8,561ha.