This article needs to be updated.February 2018)(
Logo of the TauTona Mine
|Website||AngloGold Ashanti website|
The TauTona Mine or Western Deep No.3 Shaft, is a gold mine in South Africa. At approximately 3.9 kilometers (2.4 mi) deep, it is home to the world's deepest mining operations, rivalled only by the Mponeng Gold Mine.
The mine is one of the three Western Deep Levels mines of the West Wits gold field west of Johannesburg. The mine is near the town of Carletonville. TauTona neighbours the Mponeng and Savuka mines, and TauTona and Savuka share processing facilities. All three are owned by AngloGold Ashanti. The mine was built by the Anglo American Corporation and its 2 km (1.2 mi) deep main shaft was sunk in 1957. The name TauTona means "great lion" in the Setswana language. The mine began operation in 1962. It is one of the most efficient mines in South Africa and remains in continuous operation even during periods when the price of gold is low. Since its construction, two secondary shafts have been added bringing the mine to its current depth. The mine has some 800 km (500 mi) of tunnels and employs around 5,600 miners. The mine is a dangerous place to work, with an average of five miners dying in accidents each year. The mine is so deep that temperatures in the mine can rise to life-threatening levels. Air-conditioning equipment is used to cool the mine from 55 °C (131 °F) down to a more tolerable 28 °C (82 °F). The rock face temperature reaches 60 °C (140 °F).
By 2008, the mine reached 3.9 km (2.4 mi) underground. This made it the deepest mine in the world, surpassing the 3.5 km (2.2 mi) deep East Rand Mine by a considerable margin. This new shaft extended the depth from its previous 3.5 km (2.2 mi), with the intent of extending the mine's life to 2015.
The lift cage that transports the workers from the surface to the bottom travels at 16 metres per second (36 mph / 58 km/h) so together with traveling on horizontal trolleys the journey to the rock face can take up to 1 hour from the surface level.
In the 2008 financial year, there were seven fatal accidents at AngloGold Ashanti's West Wits operations in which 14 miners died, four of those at the TauTona mine. One fatality was recorded the next year.
Production figures of the recent past were:
|Year||Production||Grade||Cost per ounce|
|2003 ||646,000 ounces||12.09 g/t||US$ 171|
|2004 ||568,000 ounces||10.88 g/t||US$ 245|
|2005 ||502,000 ounces||9.62 g/t||US$ 256|
|2006 ||474,000 ounces||10.18 g/t||US$ 269|
|2007 ||409,000 ounces||9.67 g/t||US$ 317|
|2008 ||314,000 ounces||8.66 g/t||US$ 374|
|2009 ||218,000 ounces||7.29 g/t||US$ 559|
|2010 ||259,000 ounces||7.01 g/t||US$ 700|
|2011 ||244,000 ounces||7.55 g/t||US$ 818|
|2012 ||189,000 ounces||7.63 g/t||US$ 924|
|2013 ||235,000 ounces||7.34 g/t||US$ 920|
|2014 ||232,000 ounces||8.21 g/t||US$ 882|
|2015 ||209,000 ounces||8.46 g/t||US$ 883|