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Review of operations and projects

South African operations
Mike O'Hare, Executive Vice President - South Africa

Mike O'Hare
Executive Vice President – South Africa


Our continuous improvement programme,... under the banner of [Project] ONE, has definitely improved our safety and productivity.

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Operations Gold production (000oz) Average number of employees(1)
South Africa
Vaal River    
Great Noligwa 94 2,967
Kopanang 307 5,892
Moab Khotsong 266 6,581
Surface operations 164 745
West Wits
Mponeng 500 5,788
Savuka 49 815
TauTona 244 4,507

(1)Including contractors


Improving safety performance, particularly in respect of deep level mine seismicity

Skills shortages and labour relations

Asset integrity relating to aging mine infrastructure

Moab Khotsong and Mponeng life extension projects

Changes to regulatory environment

Potential for inter-mine flooding

Current and legacy groundwater and surface water pollution

Further development of technology and innovation strategy to enable safer, deeper mining

Development of socio-economic development strategy to address technological advances and to comply with mining licences

Potential disruptions to power supply

Mitigation of potential health impacts, including silicosis and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS

oneERP implementation

In South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti has six deep-level mines and two surface operations. These operations are:

  • Vaal River operations – Great Noligwa, Kopanang, Moab Khotsong, including surface operations; and
  • West Wits operations – Mponeng, Savuka and TauTona.

These operations produced 1,62Moz of gold in 2011, equivalent to 37% of group production (Vaal River operations, 51%, and West Wits operations, 49%) and 1.38Mlb of uranium as a by-product. The South African operations employed an average of 32,082 people (2010: 35,660). Regrettably, there were nine fatalities during the year. The AIFR improved from 17.72 per million hours worked in 2009 to 15.56 in 2011.

Total cash costs in US dollar terms increased by 16% to $694/oz. Mponeng with a cash cost of $546/oz, was the lowest cost producer in the region. The South African operations faced operating challenges during the year, including a strong rand in the first half, continued interruptions from Section 54 safety-related stoppages, an industry-wide strike in the third quarter and a decision taken in the first quarter to halt mining the main shaft pillar at TauTona to mitigate safety risk.

Capital expenditure for the region totalled $532m, an increase of 25% on the $424m spent in 2010. The bulk of this was spent at Mponeng ($172m), Moab Khotsong ($147m), Kopanang ($92m) and TauTona ($79m).

AngloGold Ashanti‘s Mineral Resource in South Africa totalled 97.63Moz at year-end, and an Ore Reserve of 32.43Moz. The region has developed a socio-economic framework to address socio-economic focus areas within and outside of the business over a three-year period. This involves government, social and industry partnerships to address economic gaps created as the operations mature and production tapers off over a ten-year period. See Sustainability Report 2011Regional sustainability strategies, South Africa region.

South Africa: contribution to
group production
South Africa  contribution
to production by mine
South Africa  gold production


South Africa  AIFR
South Africa  average number
of employees*

32,082people employed

South Africa  capital expenditure


South Africa – key financial and non-financial statistics
2011 2010 2009
Pay limit oz/t 0.54 0.53 0.50
  g/t 11.98 12.02 12.94
Recovered grade* oz/t 0.232 0.212 0.201
* underground sources g/t 7.95 7.28 6.90
Gold production 000oz 1,624 1,785 1,797
Total cash costs $/oz 694 598 466
Total production costs $/oz 910 809 617
Capital expenditure $m 532 424 385
Number of employees   32,082 35,660 37,425
Employees   28,176 31,723 33,355
Contractors   3,906 3,937 4,070
Number of fatalities   9 10 12
Fatal injury frequency rate per million hours worked 0.11 0.12 0.13
All injury frequency rate per million hours worked 15.57 16.69 17.72
New cases of silicosis submitted to the MBOD 263 459 409
Compensable cases of NIHL   69 64 77
New cases of TB identified   541 821 974
New cases of occupational lung disease (OLD) identified 169 387 678
Number of employees undertaking voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) 19,133 23,653 30,002
Number of employees on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) 2,378 2,459 2,216
Water usage ML 18,821 20,896 19,649
Energy usage – direct Million GJ 0.75 0.84 0.88
– indirect Million GJ 10.93 11.53 11.46
Greenhouse gas emissions CO2e (000t) 3,079 3,419 3,396
Cyanide used (t) 3,913 4,575 4,689
Reportable environmental incidents   12 10 35
Community investment $000 3,670 3,242 2,962