AngloGold Ashanti is to develop the Mponeng mine below the 120 level, which will enable to the mine to access an additional 2.5 million ounces of gold. It will add eight years to the mine’s life extending it to and beyond 2024.

The mine, which produced its first gold in 1986, has expanded through a series of deepening projects, the most recent being the extension from 109 to 120 level, which is some 3,400 meters below surface. The Mponeng mine consists of a two shaft system from surface to 85 level and a triple sub-shaft system down to 120 level.

The expansion project will consist of four parallel decline shafts to be sunk from the 120 level to gain access to the Ventersdorp Contact Reef (VCR) on levels 123 and 126, some 3,600 meters below surface. The declines will be equipped with a conveyor belt, monorail and chairlift to service the new mining area. The AngloGold Ashanti team responsible for the recent 109 to 120 level project will also undertake this new project.

The project, from which production will start in 2013, will have a capital cost of US$252 million, and also facilitates further opportunities to access additional potential projects in the Mponeng area, including Western Ultra Deep Levels, further to the south.