Top 10 Deepest Mines in the World
When you hear the term underground mining you wouldn’t think of #SouthAfrica. However, shockingly eight out of the ten deepest mines in the world reside in that region. More surprising even, most of these operations are focused on gold extraction.
Underground mining refers to various mining techniques used to excavate hard or soft minerals such as ore that contains #gold, #silver, #iron, #copper, #zinc, #nickel, #salt, #coal, #tin and #lead. Accessing these minerals can be a challenge as the majority of them lay deep beneath the earth’s crust. How deep can one mine exactly? Well, read on to find out about the 10 deepest mines in the world.
Top 10 Deepest Mines in the World
1) Mponeng Gold Mine
Operating depth: ranged from between 2.4 km to more than 3.9 km below the surface.
Located south-west of #Johannesburg in South Africa, it is currently the deepest mine in the world. Ongoing expansions have resulted in deeper digging at #Mponeng, pushing the range to a record breaking 4 km below surface. Mponeng extracts the #VentersdorpContactReef (VCR) of the West Wits region of South Africa. The deep underground mine employs a sequential grid mining method.
2) TauTona Gold Mine
Operating depth: ranged between 1.85 km to 3.45 km below surface
Located in the West Wits region of South Africa ranks the 2nd deepest mine in the world. Although TauTona currently takes place at depths ranging between 1.85 km to 3.45 km, it’s mining depth was extended to 3.9 km underground with the addition of a secondary shaft in 2008.
3) Savuka Gold Mine
Operating depth: contains reefs at a depth of more than 3.7 km
Located in the West Wits region of South Africa and operated by #AngloGoldAshanti, it is the third deepest mine in the world. In 2011 it produced a record 49,000oz of gold at a cost of $864/oz.
4) Driefontein Mine
Operating Depth: Extended up to 3.4 km.
Owned by #GoldFields, the fourth deepest mine in the world can be found near #Carletonville, in the Gauteng Provice of South Africa. The pit consists of eight producing shaft systems extracting gold ore from three reefs.
5) Kusasalethu Gold Mine
Operating depth: 3,276 m below the surface.
Operated by #Harmony, the fifth deepest mine on the planet is located 75 km west of Johannesburg, on the West Wits near Carletonville, in South Africa.
6) Moab Khotsong Gold Mine
Operating depth: ranging between 2.6 km and 3.054 km below the surface.
Moab Khotsong Gold Mine is one of AngloGold Ashanti’s Vaal River operations in South Africa. It’s located around 180 km south-west of Johannesburg near the towns of Orkney and Klerksdorp. The mine exploits the #VaalReef (VR) through three mining layers, namely the Top, Middle, and Lower Mines. Moab Khotsong employs a scattered mining method with and integrated backfill support system. It currently ranks the 6th deepest mine in the world.
7) South Deep Gold Mine
Operating depth: Extends up to 2,995m below the surface
Owned and operated by #GoldFields, it is the seventh deepest mine in the world. It covers an area of 4.268ha, and is located 45km south-west of Johannesburg. The deep mine comprises of two shaft systems known as the South Shaft complex and the Twin Shaft complex.
8) Kidd Creek Copper and Zinc Mine
Operating depth: Extends 2,927 m below the surface
Located 27 km north of #Timmins in Ontario, Canada, it is the eighth deepest mine and the deepest base metal mine in the world. It is owned and operated by #Xstrata. The mine is operated with three shafts. The mining method used is blasthole stoping with cemented backfill.
9) Great Noligwa Gold Mine
Operating depth: ranging between 2.4km to 2.6km below surface
Great Noligwa gold mine is operated by AngloGold Ashanti in the Vaal Rive region of South Africa. It’s located 15km south-east of the town of Orkney. It currently ranks as the ninth deepest mine in the world. The mine primarily exploits the Vaal Reef (VR) with a twin shaft system.
10) Creighton Mine
Operating depth: Extending 2.5 km below the surface.
Creighton, an underground nickel mine located in the City of Greater #Sudbury, Ontario, #Canada, is the tenth deepest mine in the world. It is also the world’s deepest nickel mine. The mine is owned and operated by #Vale. Current mining methods include shrinkage mining and mechanised undercut-and-fill mining. The large-diameter blasthole method combined with vertical retreat mining is also used.