The South Africa region produced 419,000oz at a total cash cost
of $981/oz in 2019, 14% lower than the previous year, largely
due to limitations in face length availability which impacted grades
following high seismicity at Mponeng. Production was also
impacted by intermittent electricity due to Eskom load shedding
and seismicity related safety stoppages.
Mponeng mine produced 243,000oz at a total cash cost of
$976/oz in 2019 compared to 265,000oz at a total cash cost of
$977/oz in 2018. The 2019 year marked the first full year in which
new shift arrangements at Mponeng were implemented. The new
shift arrangement represents a paradigm shift in the evolution of
the mine and this has resulted in significant improvements in both safety and productivity. Employees have responded positively to
the new schedule, resulting in a 44% year-on-year improved safety
performance (AIFR) and a 11% uplift in productivity.
Production of 176,000oz at Surface Operations improved for the
year driven by a 3% increase in production at MWS, from improved
recoveries with the introduction of the Aachen Shear reactor and
other initiatives aimed at enhancing efficiencies.
The main drivers for the improved delivery at the Surface
Operations were primarily due to:
- Improved throughput from better operational performance
delivery by the contractor; stabilised duty cycle of the
- A change in strategy to process Mponeng marginal ore dumps
(MOD) through the Savuka Gold Plant
- General metallurgical process efficiencies
- Implementation of grid sampling and grade profiling strategy
The impact of inclement weather remained significant during 2019.
A remote reclamation project is currently underway with the aim of
reducing inclement weather disruptions to production. The current
situation at Eskom also remains a concern as MWS is not able to
fully function on emergency power and therefore any interruptions
caused by Eskom load shedding directly impact production activities.
Costs benefitted from operating efficiencies as well as a weaker
rand/dollar exchange rate, resulting in a 5% year-on-year decrease
in total cash cost. This was partially offset by lower gold output
from the region. Cost reduction initiatives aimed at calibrating both
on- and off-mine cost structures progressed well through the year
in line with our focus on Operational Excellence.
All-in-sustaining costs for the region were $1,132/oz, down 4%
despite the headwinds related to production and inflationary
pressures. The region successfully delivered on its targeted cost
savings initiatives for 2019.
Through our Operational Excellence initiatives, cost and capital
management remained a key priority as we continue to maintain
asset integrity and safety performance. Project initiatives include a
wide array of activities aimed at improving metallurgical recoveries
and throughput and cost saving initiatives.
Operational Excellence began at Mponeng in 2019 and included
working to increase face length availabilities, improve recovery
and mine call factors, reduce power consumption, and optimise
Total capital expenditure for the region was $57m, compared to
$73m in 2018. This was mainly spent on the completion of the
Mponeng Phase 1 project, Ore Reserve development (ORD) work,
as well as the Mponeng life-of-mine extension feasibility study.
Sustaining capital expenditure was spent on a variety of stay-inbusiness
projects and the rehabilitation work related to the Carbon