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Top 10: Established mines in Africa

Africa is home to a wealth of mineral resources, with its mines playing a crucial role in the world’s economy. The Mponeng Gold Mine in South Africa is a prominent and well-established mine that showcases human engineering in the pursuit of gold.

Here is a list of some of the prominent and well-established mines in Africa.

Mponeng Gold Mine (South Africa)

Mponeng is the world’s deepest level shaft in the world. (Harmony)

Mponeng, located near Carletonville in Gauteng, is the world’s deepest level shaft, producing gold since 1986. The mine exploits the Ventersdorp Contact Reef using breast-mining methods and conventional gold leaching and carbon-in-pulp recovery technology.

In October 2020, Harmony Gold acquired AngloGold Ashanti’s remaining South African assets, transforming the ownership and operation of the Mponeng underground mine.

Harmony Gold processed 683,000 metric tons of Mponeng underground ore from October 2020 to June 2021, producing 175,095 ounces of gold and aiming for 250,000 ounces annually over eight years. While Mponeng was the third-largest contributor to production, it experienced a decline in operating free cash flow compared to FY21, indicating a need for increased capital expenditure.

Jwaneng Diamond Mine (Botswana)

Jwaneng Mine continues to produce very high quality diamonds, making the mine one of the richest diamond mine in the world, by value. (www.debswana.com)

Known as one of the richest diamond mines in the world, Jwaneng Diamond Mine is situated approximately 160 miles southwest of Gaborone, in South Central Botswana.

The mine is owned by Debaswana, which is a joint venture between De Beers Company and the Government of Botswana.

The mine was officially opened in August 1982 by the former president of Botswana, His Excellency Sir Ketumile Masire. The construction of the mine came into full production in July 1982.

In 2020, Jwaneng produced 7,537,911 total saleable carats. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted the mining industry globally, fewer carats were produced than the typical 12.7 million carats.

Kusasalethu Gold Mine (South Africa)

Kusasalethu is a mature, deep-level mine, 90km west of Johannesburg, near the Gauteng. (Harmony)

Kusasalethu Gold Mine, situated in South Africa’s West Wits region, is one of the world’s deepest mines, located 90km west of Johannesburg near the Gauteng North-West provincial border.

The mines use twin vertical and sub-vertical shaft systems, conventional mining methods, and conventional grid layouts, with the primary orebody being the Ventersdorp Contact Reef.

Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. owns the mine, which combines the Deelkraal and Elandsrand mines, acquired from AngloGold in 2001 for R1 billion in cash.

The underground recovered grade increased by 33%, leading to a 14% increase in gold production and a 22% revenue rise.

Palabora Mining Company (South Africa)

Palabora has been operational since its incorporation in 1956. (www.palabora.com)

The Palabora copper mine, situated 360km northeast of Pretoria, is South Africa’s top copper producer, situated near Kruger National Park.

Open-pit production at Palabora, beginning in 1964, ended in 2002. An underground mine was developed, costing $465 million, with potential for a 20-year operation.

Palabora Mining Company, owned by Rio Tinto and Anglo American, reached a binding sales agreement with PMC and Empowerment Partners to sell their shares in the project in 2021.

In July 2013, Palabora Copper was renamed and acquired by PMC (74%) and Empowerment Partners (26%).

Venetia Diamond Mine (South Africa)

Venetia mine opened in 1992, and contributes 40 per cent of the country’s annual diamond production.

De Beers’ Venetia, one of its largest diamond mines, has been operating in the Limpopo Province since 1992. The mine is owned by a Chinese consortium, including HBIS, Tewoo, General Nice, and CADFund, through Smart Union Resources South Africa, with an ownership of 80%.

In 2020, the mine produced approximately 45,000 tpa of copper rod, primarily from the LIFT I block cave mine, located 400m below the open pit.

Venetia halted open-pit operations in December 2022. De Beers invested $2.3 billion in an underground expansion in 2012, delivering up to 7 million metric tons of kimberlite ore annually.

According to their website, De Beers produced 34.6 million carats in 2022, and its 2023 output was forecast in the 30 million to 33 million carat range.

Sishen Iron Ore Mine (South Africa)

Sishen mine has sufficient reserves to sustain a 14-year life of mine. (Anglo American)

Sishen Iron Ore Mine is known as one of the largest open-pit mines producing iron ore in the world. The mine is located 30km away from the town of Kathu in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa.

Mining at Sishen, part of Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore operation, is primarily owned by Kumba Iron Ore, with SIOC holding a 100% stake.

The mining operation began in 1953 and has produced over 900 million metric tons of iron ore over the past 60 years, with the first ore exported in 1976. Sishen mine has sufficient reserves to sustain a 14-year mine life.

The mine produced an estimated 27.42 million metric tons of iron ore in 2022.

Finsch Diamond Mine (South Africa)

The Finsch Mine is an underground diamond mine in the Northern Cape. (Facebook)

Known for producing commercial goods of +5 carats, Finsch is one of the world’s most significant diamond mines and South Africa’s second largest diamond operation by production.

The Finsch diamond mine is situated 165km west of Kimberley in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The open pit, discovered in 1961 during asbestos exploration, has been developed into an underground mine since 1991, supplying production for the underground mine.

De Beers sold the Finsch diamond mine to Petra Diamonds for $200 million in January 2011.

Petra increased diamond production from 1.5 million carats to two million carats annually by 2018, utilizing tailings and underground methods.

Ghana Manganese Company (Ghana)

The African mine started operations in 1916. (www.ghamang.com)

Ghana Manganese Company Ltd. (GMC) is the sole manganese producer and exporter in Ghana, a privately owned mining company comprising Minerals Africa Limited and the Government of Ghana.

The company holds a 170-square-kilometer manganese ore mining concession in Ghana’s Western Region, with a focus on low-cost, socially and environmentally responsible production.

The mine’s operations date back to 1916, when the first manganese material was extracted from the site.

In 2019, the total tons of manganese ore mined were 5.38 million at 26.9% Mn and overburden stripping of 64.25 million tonne.

Buzwagi Gold Mine (Tanzania)

Buzwagi Gold Mine is an open pit gold mine in the Shinyanga Region of Tanzania.(Wikipedia Media)

Buzwagi Gold Mine, located in Tanzania’s Shinyanga region, is owned and operated by African Barrick Gold, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation.

The mine in Tanzania is the largest open-pit operation. ABG acquired Buzwagi mine in 2000, completed feasibility studies in 2006, began operations in 2009, and is expected to shut down in 2022.

In 2011, the Buzwagi mine produced 196,541 ounces of gold, a six percent increase from the previous year. The gold mine, which was a significant economic hub in Tanzania’s Shinyanga Region, ended its operational life in July 2021 and was officially closed in July 2022.

Morila Gold Mine (Mali)

The Morila Gold Mine is one the Africa’s great open pit gold mines. (Wikipedia Media)

The Morila Gold Mine, located in the Sikasso Region of Mali, is a joint-owned operation by Firefinch Limited and the Mali Government. The operations at the Buzwagi gold mine began in May 2009.

The Morila Gold Mine, known as “Morila the Gorilla,” is a renowned open-pit gold mine globally, producing over 7.5 million ounces of gold since 2000.

Firefinch acquired Morila for $28.9 million in late 2020, aiming to increase production by targeting 70–90 kozpa of gold from satellite pits, stocks, and tailings.

Written By Chief Editor: David Brunn Chitokomere 

Cell: +27 67 812 9099

Email: editor@subsaharamining.com

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