Harmony Gold Mining advances plans to extend world's deepest gold mine
South Africa’s Harmony Gold Mining said it will seek approval from its board of directors to extend the life of the world’s deepest gold mine.
Reuters reported that the company will look to deepen its flagship Mponeng Mine, which buoyed a rebound to profit in the year through June. Studies at the mine are expected to be completed this year, CEO Peter Steenkamp said.
Plans include extending the life of the mine from its current operations of 3.8 km (2.4 miles).
Harmony said Mponeng delivered a "stellar" performance with output up 22 percent as the miner rebounded to an annual profit of $275 million from a net loss of $48 million a year earlier.
“My personal belief is it will be a mine that’s got a very long life, it’s a very high grade ore and it's certainly something that's worth pursuing,” Steenkamp said on a conference call.
Harmony is among South Africa’s few gold miners battling to squeeze profits from some of the world’s most costly, ageing and deepest gold mines. Companies in South Africa, once the world's top gold producer, are also struggling with rolling electricity outages and rising crime that's threatening profits.
Steenkamp said the company, “has a good handle in terms of mining at those depths … It's not significantly deeper than where we are currently mining so we are quite comfortable we could do it safely.”
The company bought Mponeng from AngloGold Ashanti, which has shifted focus away from South Africa to more lucrative deposits across Africa, in Australia and the Americas.
Harmony forecasts it will produce between 1.38 million and 1.48 million ounces of gold this year, compared with 1.47 million ounces last year.
Photo credit: Harmony Gold Mining