TauTona Mine

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TauTona Mine.jpg
Logo of the TauTona Mine
TauTona Gold Mine is located in South Africa
TauTona Gold Mine
TauTona Gold Mine
Location in South Africa
Location Carletonville
Province Gauteng
Country South Africa
Coordinates 26°24′58″S 027°25′39″E / 26.41611°S 27.42750°E / -26.41611; 27.42750Coordinates: 26°24′58″S 027°25′39″E / 26.41611°S 27.42750°E / -26.41611; 27.42750
Production 218,000
Financial year 2009
Opened 1962
Company AngloGold Ashanti
Website AngloGold Ashanti website

The TauTona Mine or Western Deep No.3 Shaft,[1] is a gold mine in South Africa. At 3.9 kilometers (2.4 mi) deep it is currently home to the world's deepest mining operations rivaled only by Mponeng gold mine with which it competes for #1 ranking.[2]


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 neighbors 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 around 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 3.9 km (2.4 mi) underground. This made it the deepest mine in the world, surpassing the 3.5 km (2.2 mi) 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.[3]

The lift cage that transports the workers from the surface to the bottom travels at 16 metres per second (36 mph|58 km/h) so together with traveling on horizontal trolleys the journey to the rock face can take up to 1 hour from the surface level.[4]

The mine has been featured on the MegaStructures program produced by the National Geographic Channel.

In the 2008 financial year, there were seven fatal accidents at AngloGold Ashanti's West Wits operations in which 14 miners died, four of those at the TauTona mine.[5] One fatality was recorded the next year.[6]


Production figures of the recent past were:

Year Production Grade Cost per ounce
2003 [7] 646,000 ounces 12.09 g/t US$ 171
2004 [7] 568,000 ounces 10.88 g/t US$ 245
2005 [7] 502,000 ounces 9.62 g/t US$ 256
2006 [8] 474,000 ounces 10.18 g/t US$ 269
2007 [6] 409,000 ounces 9.67 g/t US$ 317
2008 [6] 314,000 ounces 8.66 g/t US$ 374
2009 [6] 218,000 ounces 7.29 g/t US$ 559
2010 [9] 259,000 ounces 7.01 g/t US$ 700
2011 [9] 244,000 ounces 7.55 g/t US$ 818
2012 [10] 189,000 ounces 7.63 g/t US$ 924



  1. ^ http://www.infomine.com/index/properties/TAUTONA_(WESTERN_DEEP_NO.3_SHAFT).html
  2. ^ http://www.911metallurgist.com/blog/top-10-deepest-mines-on-the-planet
  3. ^ "TauTona, Anglo Gold - Mining Technology". SPG Media Group PLC. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  4. ^ http://chamberofmines.org.za/mine/down-the-mine-shaft
  5. ^ "AngloGold Ashanti website: South Africa country report 2008" (PDF). AngloGold Ashanti. 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  6. ^ a b c d Annual Report 2009 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 9 May 2010
  7. ^ a b c Annual Report 2005 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 July 2010
  8. ^ Annual Report 2006 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 July 2010
  9. ^ a b Annual Report 2011 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 30 dec '12
  10. ^ Annual Report 2012 AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 nov '13

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