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  • Last updated

    9:09am on Aug 17, 2022

Our South African gold operations comprise the Kloof, Driefontein, Beatrix, Cooke and the Burnstone operations, located in different geographical and geological regions in South Africa.

In 1898, exploration drilling by the Pullinger brothers discovered the Ventersdorp Contact Reef (VCR) and Middelvlei Reef (MVR) at depth in the Far West Rand area (later renamed the West Wits Line). In 1931, using a magnetometer, Dr Rudolf Krahman discovered the vast gold deposits of the West Wits Line near Carletonville by 1934, shaft sinking commenced at Venterspost and by 1936, at Libanon. First gold from the West Wits Line Goldfield was poured at Venterspost in 1939.

Dr Rudolf Krahmann detecting the magnetic shales beneath the large gold deposits of the West Wits Line using a magnetometer (Ball, 1987) and a map depicting the extent of the Witwatersrand Basin with the associated Sibanye-Stillwater operations and projects.

Kloof Operations

This site comprises an artefact which is an Early or Middle Stone Age hand axe
made of quartzite.

In 1964, Kloof’s main twin-shaft complex was initiated and the mine was officially opened in 1968. The sinking of the Leeudoorn shaft that had commenced in 1987, was completed in 1993. In 1992, the Venterspost Gold Mine was incorporated into the Libanon Division of Kloof Gold Mine. In April 2000, the Libanon, Kloof, Leeudoorn an Venterspost mines were almagamated into the current Kloof Gold mining operations, situated in the West Wits Line of the Witwatersrand Basin, near the towns of Randfontein and Westonaria, approximately 60km west of Johannesburg, in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

The Kloof Mining area and surrounding region contains many heritage sites and resources, ranging from archaeological sites dating back to the Later Iron Age and the Anglo-Boer War, through historical farmsteads and including historical mining resources as well as graves and cemeteries. The landscape within which the mine is located has a rich and diverse palaeontological heritage. Kloof has a total of 207 identified heritage sites to date.

Driefontein operation

An African religious site which is significant to the local community as it is
associated with religious practices and is an example of living heritage

The Driefontein operation is situated some 70 km west of Johannesburg near Carletonville in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Exploration in the area dates from 1898, with further exploration activities between 1933 and 1939 resulting in the registration of the West Driefontein Mining Company on 07th March 1945. This was followed by the sinking of the No 1 and No 2, with milling at West Driefontein commencing in 1952. West Driefontein Gold Mine ultimately became recognized as one of the most prolific gold producers in the country.  The West and East Driefontein Gold Mining Companies, respectively, pooled their resources in September 1999, to form the Driefontein Gold Mine.

Geologically, Driefontein mine is positioned within the richest formations of the Carbon Leader and VCR ever found in South Africa. To date, Driefontein Mine has a total of 87 identified heritage sites.

Beatrix operation

This site comprises a medium density scatter of Later Stone Age lithics
older than 100 years old and therefore archeological. The lithics comprise
pieces of stone that are essentially the waste products of stone tool
manufacture, such as flakes, chunks and cores.

After intense exploration, which started in 1936, three gold bearing conglomerates were identified in 1938. Further drilling led to the identification of the Basal Reef in March 1939, which led to a score of mines being developed in the Free State Goldfields. In 1969, the exploration drilling for gold and uranium commenced in the southern limits of the Free State Goldfields.

In 1976, General Mining acquired Union Corporation, which eventually became Gencor Limited. In 1981 the Beisa Shaft was commissioned to exploit uranium and the sinking of Beatrix 1 and 2 Shafts commenced. Beatrix Mine is situated in the Magisterial District of Matjhabeng, near the towns of Welkom and Virginia, in the Free State Province of South Africa. Beatrix is the southernmost mine in the Witwatersrand Basin.

The heritage sites identified within the Beatrix mining area comprise graves or burial grounds, historical structures believed to be older than 60 years, and 100 years as well as some archaeological (Stone Age) sites. One of the historic structures that is believed to be 100 years old, with a nearby cemetery, is associated with one of the early Voortrekker families who lived in the area. Beatrix has a total of 73 identified heritage sites to date.

Burnstone operation

Graves associated with the Burnstone operation

Burnstone is a developmental stage gold mine and processing operation located in the South Rand Goldfield of the Witwatersrand Basin next to the town of Balfour in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. The project targets the UK9A Kimberley reef orebody and aims to produce approximately 12kozpm over a 24-year Life of mine (LoM) and is scheduled for steady state production by 2030.

 The Heritage sites found in the study areas are in the form of gravesites. The Burnstone project area consists of younger Ventersdorp Supergroup volcanic material, unconformably overlying the Central Rand Group sediments of the Witwatersrand Supergroup.

To date, Burnstone has a total of 16 identified heritage sites.

Cooke operation

Situated on the West Wits Line of the Witwatersrand Basin, near the town of Randfontein, Cooke is part of a historical mining landscape as this part of Randfontein can be traced to the development of the gold mining industry in this far western part of the Witwatersrand gold fields.

In 1889 the Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company Limited (REGM) was established. The Cooke 1,2 and 3 shaft operations were established as sections of REGM between 1971 and 1981. In 1997, the Cooke 4 shaft was purchased by REGM, but subsequently sold to Harmony Gold Mine Limited in 2000.

The asset was subsequently acquired in 2005 by Simmer and Jack Limited (as the Ezulweni Mining Company Pty Ltd) (EMC) which then sold its 90% interest in the Ezulweni Mining Company (EMC) to First Uranium Limited. In 2007, Harmony and Pamodzi acquired the Cooke operations from Randfontein Estates Limited in a special purpose vehicle called Rand Uranium (Pty) Limited. Gold One International Limited then acquired Rand Uranium in 2007, and in 2012, Gold One acquired 100% of EMC. Sibanye Gold subsequently acquired Rand Uranium and EMC from Gold One in May 2014 Cooke 4 UG was closed in 2016 and the uranium plant placed under care and maintenance. In 2017 the Cooke 1,2 and 3 underground operations were placed under care and maintenance. The official, legal closure process of the Cooke underground operations commenced in 2019. Current operational activities are limited to the Randfontein surface operations, and the surface rock dump (SRD) and toll treatment activities at Cooke 4# gold plant.

The Heritage resources identified in the surrounding area are primarily historical houses on smallholdings and historical graveyards to the north-west of the Mine. To date, Cooke has a total of 20 identified heritage sites including graves associated with the Jameson raid that occurred circa 1896.

A graveyard with three graves belonging to renegade soldiers who are reported to have participated in the Jameson raid in 1896

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