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Overview

Located in the Free State province of South Africa, some 240km south-west of Johannesburg, near Welkom and Virginia, Beatrix operates under new order mining rights covering a total area of 16,817ha. Beatrix is principally an underground mine with nominal surface reserves represented by surface rock dumps (SRDs) accumulated during the operating history of the mine.

Gold mining began at Beatrix in 1985 and at Oryx (Beatrix Shaft 4, also known as West Section) in 1993. The existing scope of operations is the result of the consolidation of the adjacent Beatrix and Oryx mines on 1 July 2002.


Mine location
SA location
Coordinates
  • 28° 15'00"S
  • 26° 47'00"E

Beatrix has three operating shaft systems with two ventilation shafts to provide additional upcast and downcast ventilation capacity, and is serviced by two metallurgical plants.

Beatrix, a shallow to intermediate-depth operation, mining at depths of between 700m and 2,200m below surface, exploits the Beatrix Reef at shafts 1 and 3, and the Kalkoenkrans Reef at Shaft 4. Situated near regional urban centres where it can routinely obtain supplies, the mine has access to the national electricity grid and to water, road and rail infrastructure.

Processing occurs by way of carbon-in-leach (CIL) and carbon-in-pulp (CIP) treatment at the No 1 and 2 plants respectively.

Key statistics

    2016 2015 2014 2013
PRODUCTION          
Main development m 21,280 21,599 19,733 17,531
Area mined 000m² 437 417 385 434
Tonnes milled Mt 4.3 4.3 4.5 4.1
Yield g/t 2.32 2.34 2.28 2.4
Gold produced kg 10,041 10,105 10,354 9,722
  000oz 323 325 333 315
COSTS AND MARGINS        
Operating costs R/t 866 785 705 731
– underground R/t 1,246 1,169 1,187 1,201
– surface R/t 126 129 77 84
Operating profit Rm 2,131 1,425 1,362 1,223
Operating margin % 36 30 30 29
Capital expenditure Rm 628 597 548 537
– sustaining Rm 85 86 102 201
– ore reserve development Rm 543 511 446 336
Total cash cost R/kg 381,625 340,792 313,888 306,593
  US$/oz 809 831 902 993
All-in cost R/kg 453,232 408,422 377,101 377,206
  US$/oz 961 996 1,087 1,222
All-in cost margin % 23 14 15 13

Hoisting and production capacities

Operating
shaft
Operational hoisting
capacity (ktpm)
Planned production
ktpm)*
3 170 140
1 138 52
4** 120 79
4SV 120 44

* Planned production is five-year hoisted average from 2017 onwards
** 4 Shaft includes Beisa Central

Plant capacities

PlantDesign
capacity
(ktpm)
Current
operational
capacity (ktpm)
Average
recovery
factor (%)
Material
treated
1 (CIL) 233 235 95.5 UG
      83.0 Surface
2 (CIP) 130 130 94.0 UG
      85.8 Surface

Performance in 2016

Total operation

Gold production of 10,041kg (322,800oz) was similar to the previous year as an increase in underground volumes mostly offset the decrease in underground and surface yields.

Underground

Gold production increased marginally to 9,601kg (308,700oz) for the year ended 31 December 2016, compared with 2015, due to higher volumes mined, which increased by 5% to 2.86Mt due to increased volumes at 1 and 3 shafts. Yield was 5% lower at 3.35g/t, mainly as a result of a reduction in volume from the higher grade 4 Shaft.

Main development decreased by 1% to 21,280m with reduction mainly at 4 Shaft. Main on-reef development decreased to 5,843m from 6,344m mainly as a result of geological changes at 3 and 4 shafts. The average main reef development grade at 1,000cm.g/t was (1,100cm.g/t) slightly lower at 1 and 3 shafts compared with the year ended 31 December 2015.

Operating costs increased by 12% to R3,567 million (US$243 million) due to the annual wage increase, the additional contractor crews required to improve volumes, above inflation annual power increase, increase in renewal and replacement cost (mainly rail-bound equipment for contractor mining, winch repairs and box front installations). Incremental volumes mined resulted in an increase in stores costs, compounded by inflationary increases. This was partially offset by an increase in capitalised ore reserve development (ORD).

Operating profit increased by 50% to R2,060 million (US$140 million) and the operating margin increased to 37% from 30% year on year.

Capital expenditure increased by 5% to R626 million (US$43 million). The majority of the expenditure during 2016 was on ORD, major equipment upgrades and raise-boring at 4 Shaft to improve ventilation conditions and reduce logistics constraints.

Surface

All milling capacity was used by supplementing underground ore with SRD material. Gold production decreased 20% to 440kg (14,100oz) due to an increase in underground production, which resulted in a throughput reduction of 8% to 1.47Mt and a yield that was 12% lower at 0.30g/t.

Operating costs decreased by 10% to R186 million (US$13 million) mainly due to the decrease in volume.

Operating profit increased to R71 million (US$5 million) from R53 million (US$4 million) year on year.

Capital expenditure decreased from R4.2 million (US$0.3 million) to R2.4 million (US$0.2 million).

Future focus

Safe production continues to be a key focus area for the Beatrix operations. Throughput from 4 Shaft remains critical to the profitability of this operation at reduced rand gold prices.

Beatrix West remains a marginal operation, which will be evaluated during the year and, as a result, costs will be monitored closely. Available surface source, also at the Beatrix West plant, will be depleted during 2017, which could result in the scaling down of surface operations at Beatrix, depending on the gold price.