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Overview

Cooke is a large, established, shallow to intermediate-level gold mine which has been producing gold and uranium since 1961. Cooke is currently on reduced operations, with no mining operations taking place within the underground workings.

The surface mining is located in the West Rand District Municipality of the Gauteng province, South Africa. Cooke shafts are located approximately 30km to 40km south-west of Johannesburg. The sites are accessed via the R28 highway between Randfontein and Westonaria or via the N12 national road between Johannesburg and Potchefstroom. The Randfontein Surface Operations (RSO) assets include several TSFs on the West Rand near Randfontein. The topography of the area is relatively flat and the vegetation is classified as Bankenveld consisting of grassland. Livestock farming is widespread in the surrounding area.

The underground mine infrastructure, which is on care and maintenance, consists of four shaft complexes that previously mined open ground and pillars (white areas). Cooke 4, previously operated at 1,634m below surface (58 Level at Cooke 4 SV Shaft) and was declared uneconomical for exploitation from August 2016. Cooke 1, 2 and 3 Shafts have also since been declared non-economical for exploitation. The decision was made to close the underground workings. The principal mining took place on the Middle and Upper Elsburg Reefs. The remainder of the mining took place on the secondary reefs, namely the Kimberly Formations and the VCR. The only production currently is from surface TSF. The production from the four Cooke shafts could be hoisted to surface separately. Underground material from Cooke 1,2 and 3 was previously processed at the Doornkop plant, operated by Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd (Harmony), on a toll treatment basis. Cooke 4 production and overflow from the Cooke 3 Shaft was treated at Ezulwini along with ore from SRDs on a toll treatment basis.

In 2017, underground production from the Cooke operations decreased by 52% to 2,338kg, 75,200oz (2016: 4,853kg, 156,000oz) as a result of Cooke 4 shaft being placed on reduced operations towards the end of September 2016, and at the Cooke 1, 2 and 3 shafts being placed on reduced operations at the end of October 2017. This will negatively impact the gold production in 2018, but is expected to favourably affect AISC for the gold operations in 2018.

Locality plan

Mine location

Key statistics

  2017201620152014
PRODUCTION          
Main development m 1,908 7,115 12,923 9,508
Area mined 000m² 82 175 205 176
Tonnes milled Mt 3.7 5.2 5.8 3.7
Yield g/t 0.8 1.09 1.08 1.17
Gold produced/sold kg 3,107 5,653 6,252 4,305
  000oz 100 182 201 138
COSTS AND MARGINS          
Operating costs R/t 525 575 514 461
– underground R/t 3,019 2,268 1,782 1,641
– surface R/t 117 90 83 82
Operating profit Rm (284) 377 (4) 189
Operating margin % (17) 11 0 10
Capital expenditure Rm 75 250 337 230
– sustaining Rm 9 49 93 52
– ore reserve development Rm 54 160 227 117
– projects Rm 12 41 18 61
Total cash cost R/kg 629,827 527,916 474,584 395,168
  US$/oz 1,472 1,119 1,158 1,136
All-in cost R/kg 677,197 595,959 541,843 445,645
  US$/oz 1,583 1,263 1,322 1,281
All-in cost margin % (26) (1) (14) (6)

Hoisting and production capacities

Operating unitOperational hoisting capacity (ktpm)Planned production (ktpm)*
1 15 0
2 28 0
3 54 0
TSF 400** 385

*Reclamation capacity

Plant capacities

PlantDesign capacity
(ktpm)
Current
operational
capacity (ktpm)
Average
recovery
factor (%)
Material
treated
Cooke 400 385 56.6 SRD/TSF
Ezulwini 200 115 95.6 SRD

* Used for toll treatment of SRD material