Mponeng is a gold mine in South Africa's North West Province. It extends over two miles below the surface, and is considered to be one of the deepest and most substantial gold mines in the world. The trip from the surface to the bottom of the mine takes over an hour.
6,000 tons of rock are excavated from Mponeng each day. At a cost of $550 per ounce of gold extracted, the mine needs to recover only 0.35 ounces of gold per ton excavated to remain profitable. The mine contains at least two gold reefs, with the deepest three feet thick.
The temperature of the rock reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 Degrees Celsius), and the mine pumps slurry ice underground to cool the tunnel air below 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.5 degrees Celsius). A mixture of concrete, water, and rock is packed into excavated areas, which further acts as an insulator. Tunnel walls are secured by flexible shotcrete reinforced with steel fibers, which is further held in place by diamond-mesh netting.
Tau Tona Mine
The TauTona Mine or Western Deep No.3 Shaft, is a gold mine in South Africa. At some 3.9 kilometers (2.4 mi) deep it is currently home to the world's deepest mining operations.
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 originally built by the Anglo American Corporation with its 2 km (1.2 mi) deep main shaft being 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 today has some 800 km (500 mi) of tunnels and employs some 5,600 miners. The mine is a dangerous place to work and an average of five miners die 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 currently reaches 60 °C (140 °F).
By 2008, the mine reached some 3.9 km (2.4 mi) underground. This made it the deepest mine in the world, surpassing the 3,585 m (11,762 ft) deep East Rand Mine by a considerable margin. This new shaft extended the depth from its previous 3.6 km (2.2 mi), and will extend the mine's life to 2015.
The journey to the rock face can take 1 hour from surface level. The lift cage that transports the workers from the surface to the bottom travels at 16 metres per second (58 km/h).
The mine has also been featured on the MegaStructures program produced by the National Geographic Channel.
In the 2008 financial year, four employees were killed at the TauTona mine, out of seven fatal accidents that occurred at AngloGold Ashanti's West Wits operations and 14 fatalities overall in the year. The safety record of the mine improved in 2009, when it only recorded one fatality.
Creighton Mine is an underground nickel mine, owned and operated by Vale (formerly known as Inco) in the city of Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is currently the deepest nickel mine in Canada.
Production at Creighton Mine began in 1901, and as of August 2004 there was an estimated 20 years of reserves left.
In 2005 the mine produced an average of 3,755 tons per day on a 6 days per week schedule. Ore is processed off site at Vale Inco's Clarabelle Mill.
Creighton Deepening Project: Two projects are underway to allow deeper mining at Creigton Mine. The first is an $8-million, four-year diamond drill exploration program that will allow for ore tonnage to be defined down to the 10,000-foot level. The second is a $48-million expansion project that will establish production ore at the 7,810-foot level and bring 1.8 million tons or high-grade ore into production from 2006-2011.
The deepest mine in Europe is Pyhäsalmi Mine in Pyhäjärvi, Finland at 1,444 meters. The second deepest mine in Europe is Boulby Mine England at 1,400 meters (shaft depth 1,100 meters).
The deepest open pit mine in the world is Bingham Canyon Mine in Bingham Canyon, Utah, United States at over 1,200 meters. The largest and second deepest open pit copper mine in the world is Chuquicamata in Chuquicamata, Chile at 900 meters, 940,600 tons of copper and 17,700 tons of molybdenum produced annually
The deepest open pit mine with respect to sea level is Tagebau Hambach in Germany, where the ground of the pit is 293 meters below sea level.
El Teniente, in Rancagua, Chile, 2,400 kilometers of underground drifts, 418,000 tons of copper yearly. The deepest borehole in the world is Kola Superdeep Borehol
Mineralogist at USGS
· 8 years ago