Evander Mines goes next level

65 000 low-cost ounces per annum, over the next 13 years.

That’s the average predicted annual gold production rate following the expansion of the pillar mining activities at Evander Mines 8 Shaft to three new underground levels – 24, 25 and 26 – gaining access to largely untapped areas of the high-grade Evander orebody, a world class, multi-million ounce gold mine.

Mining at 24 Level commences in September 2022, having completed all access development blasting earlier in the year, as well as commissioning Phase 1 of a newly installed refrigeration plant in August. This 24 Level area of the mine contains approximately 101 000 accessible ounces, and extends the life-of-mine of Evander Mines 8 Shaft by an additional two and a half years.

8 SHAFT 24 LEVEL

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Further growth opportunities exist at the lower 25 and 26 Levels, where plans and infrastructure for mining the down-dip extent of the orebody are already underway.

Dewatering commenced in the first half of 2022, while blasting of the development ends begins in the 2023 financial year, with mining of the first stope planned for 2025. Significantly, this will further extend Evander Mines’ 8 Shaft’s production following the cessation of mining activities at 24 Level by an additional nine years, with comparatively minimal capital outlay.

These mining of these Levels have been designed using a proven and innovative on-reef mining layout, which both minimises waste and significantly reduces the time for orebody access development. The new refrigeration plant at 24 Level also plays a key role here, and enables existing ventilation shafts to be converted for transporting ore to the surface, significantly reducing underground ore transport time when compared with the inefficient long conveyor belts used previously.

The scope for renewable energy

In May 2022, Pan African was the first mining company in South Africa to set up a large solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy plant to power its Elikhulu operations at Evander. A feasibility study to expand this recently commissioned PV plant to provide clean energy for our abovementioned underground growth projects has been completed. This would see the PV plant provide 22 MW of electricity, up from its current 10 MW.

This will provide excellent continued progress in the Group’s ongoing decarbonisation strategy, while energy-related cost savings are on track to total around ZAR 36 million per annum on the existing plant and would more than double with the 22 MW PV plant. Should bulk energy prices rise further, as widely expected, these savings will be even greater.

Additional growth projects at Evander

Coinciding with the planned depletion of the 24 Level mineral resources in 2025, will be phased development activities at the underground Egoli project, located approximately 1.5 km from Evander’s fully operational 8 Shaft.

The first phase development will entail the dewatering of 3 Decline infrastructure to 19 Level, where a drilling platform will be established to enable infill drilling, which will assist in finalising the short-term mine planning.

The feasibility study has been completed and demonstrates a viable and value-enhancing project, surpassing the findings of previous technical and financial assessments. It has an expected initial life of-mine of approximately nine years, and expected to contribute 60 000 to 80 000 oz. per annum, at an AISC of under US$ 1 000/oz. over the life-of-mine, based on the current Proved and Probable Mineral Reserves.

Additional Inferred Mineral Resources of 1.95 Moz. will be accessed once underground development is in place, potentially increasing the life-of-mine of the Egoli project to 14 years.