Fairview Mine

Fairview Mine, a key part of the Barberton Mines complex, boasts over 130 years of mining heritage, contributing significantly to the 80,000oz of gold produced annually by the complex. This mine is renowned for pioneering the BIOX® (Biological Oxidation) process, an eco-friendly method of gold extraction, setting a global standard for sustainable mining practices. With its impressive safety record and commitment to excellence, Fairview Mine continues to play a vital role in the longevity and success of Barberton Mines.

Fairview Mine Performance FY23

The adoption of Full Calendar Operations at Fairview Mine marks a significant milestone, bringing the mine in line with global best practices and ensuring its continued success in the competitive gold mining industry. With these enhancements in operational efficiency and cost reduction, Fairview Mine is well-positioned to maintain its status as a key contributor to the Barberton Mines complex and the broader mining sector.

Initiatives Implemented to Improve Gold Production

Fairview Mine has embarked on a strategic overhaul to bolster gold production and streamline costs. The installation of a new grout backfill plant is now operational, streamlining the backfill process by allowing direct pumping from the surface. This upgrade replaces the less efficient method of manually transporting bagged cement using the 3 Decline. This system is expected to be fully functional by the second quarter of 2024.

Additionally, the mine has identified near-surface resources close to hoisting infrastructure, which will serve as a higher-grade substitute in place of stockpiled lower-grade surface sources in metallurgical plants. The development of a chairlift decline adjacent to the 3 Decline, spanning between the 42 and 64 Levels, is set to commence and will enhance hoisting availability. This project is anticipated to be completed in 2024.

Amidst a below-inflation increase in the Group’s All-In Sustaining Costs (AISC) of 3.3% from the previous year, Fairview Mine has sharpened its focus on operational efficiency. This includes transitioning to a continuous operation cycle, resulting in a 7.7% increase in average monthly underground production from the MRC and Rossiter orebodies (climbing from 8,239 tonnes to 8,875 tonnes) and a rise in monthly gold production from 96kg to 105kg.

These strategic initiatives are part of a broader effort to improve gold production and reduce unit costs at Barberton Mines’ higher-cost operations, but also to maintain and strengthen Fairview Mine’s position in the competitive gold mining industry through reduced costs.

Improved Mining Flexibility

Fairview Mine has notably advanced its mining flexibility, crucial for optimizing output and extending operational longevity, particularly within the MRC and Rossiter orebodies. The mine has successfully accessed five large high-grade platforms for mining, although two (256 and 257) were depleted within the financial year. The development of the lower high-grade 260 Platform, achieved in January 2023, and the ongoing progress towards the 261 Platform, underscore the mine’s commitment to expanding its mining capacity and ensuring the sustainability of its operations.

Incorporating these developments, Fairview Mine has improved mining flexibility by optimizing extraction from the MRC and Rossiter orebodies, increasing development rates, and expanding reserve definition drilling. Exploration efforts continue on the Hope, Main Muiden, and Golden Quarry Reefs, alongside evaluations of unmined lower-grade blocks.

The mine’s investment in modern exploration software, improved infrastructure and advanced equipment has bolstered its adaptability to diverse geological conditions. This adaptability ensures steady gold production and contributes to the mine’s robust safety record, as it allows for quicker and more effective responses to unexpected challenges. Strategic initiatives, such as the up-dip mining method at Sheba and the development of high-grade zones at Consort, reflect Fairview’s dedication to operational efficiency and resource optimization.

Underground Mineral Reserve Delineation Drilling Programme

An integrated approach ensures that exploration and grade control drilling align with the short, medium, and long-term mine plans, bolstering the conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves. The implementation of an electronic radio frequency reef and waste tagging system at Fairview and Sheba Mines further enables real-time tracking of ore movement from underground to the plant, optimizing resource management and reinforcing the mine’s commitment to sustained productivity and resource development.

Fairview Mine’s Underground Mineral Reserve Delineation Drilling Programme has intensified, supporting a seamless operating cycle and improved production metrics. The drilling program at Barberton Mines recorded a 19% increase from the previous year, reaching a total of 10,618 meters. This advancement was primarily directed at Fairview Mine’s MRC cross-fracture, targeting the area below the 257 Platform to delineate and reduce variability in the mine plan. This effort aims to clarify and secure the mining plan, reducing uncertainties and enhancing operational stability.

Sustainable Mining Practices

At Fairview Mine, sustainable mining is not just a goal – it’s a commitment. Pan African Resources has received certifications and recognitions for our sustainability efforts, showcasing our unwavering commitment to responsible mining practices. We are dedicated to implementing eco-friendly practices that minimize our environmental footprint while maximizing efficiency. A shining example of this commitment is the construction at Fairview Mine of our 8.75MW solar renewable energy plant at the start of 2023. This initiative is a significant step towards energy self-sufficiency, reducing our reliance on external power sources, reducing costs and mitigating power disruptions.

Our pursuit of sustainability extends to our choice of equipment. We have invested in more efficient underground mining vehicles, significantly reducing emissions and contributing to cleaner, healthier mining operations. Additionally, we have upgraded our infrastructure, adding a new chairlift system and improving logistics to enhance efficiency and safety for our workforce.

These efforts are in line with our long-term objectives to protect natural resources, manage energy responsibly, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Our commitment is reinforced by a biodiversity gap analysis conducted to align with GRI Standards, ensuring our practices meet global sustainability benchmarks.

Environmental Impact and Rehabilitation

Fairview Mine is deeply committed to environmental stewardship, with a particular focus on innovative land rehabilitation. Our approach includes revitalizing historic mining sites, which not only aids in ecological restoration but also bolsters our operational capacity. With a mining legacy spanning over a century, we’re dedicated to uncovering and rehabilitating long-forgotten areas, thereby enriching the region’s biodiversity.

Our environmental efforts are comprehensive, initiating collaboration efforts for biodiversity preservation in the Barberton Nature Reserve and active participation in rhino conservation. We’ve set clear targets for land rehabilitation up to 2030, emphasizing soil health and land use to ensure sustainable practices. With fully funded rehabilitation liabilities, Fairview Mine is steadfast in its mission to restore and enhance the land for the prosperity of future generations.

Overcoming Power Challenges

Fairview Mine is tackling power reliability with a forward-thinking strategy. The cornerstone of this approach is the commissioning of our solar renewable energy plant, developed in partnership with juwi Renewable Energies (juwi). This solar facility is not only anticipated to bring annual cost savings but also to significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 22,000 tons each year. With a lifespan exceeding 25 years, the solar plant is set to provide clean energy well beyond the mine’s current 20-year life-of-mine projection.

In addition, the mine has established backup power systems to maintain seamless operations during power interruptions. These measures, combined with the adoption of energy-efficient technologies, enhance the mine’s ability to manage load shedding and showcase its dedication to sustainable mining practices. The solar plant is slated to begin generating power during its hot commissioning phase in 2024, further contributing to the reduction of operational costs in the future.