A new method of underground gold mining, being tested by AngloGold Ashanti, is filling headlines in the country, as the method has the potential to reverse the decline in South Africa’s gold output.
According to Gold Made Simple, a local drilling contractor has developed an alternate gold mining process, which increases the efficiency of current practices. The method, discovered in 1974, was never developed due to lack of funding.
South Africa still has one of the largest worldwide gold reserves, but the ore is at depth, which results in significant amounts of the bullion having to be locked up in shaft pillars and stability pillars, since blasting creates seismicity.
The new method of drilling, says the report, is safer both to the seismic stability and to the workers and allows for constant gold mining with an increased gold take.
The company is prototyping a series of other mining projects such as reverse-circulation drilling, which involves threading a camera through the hole to locate and capture the environment. The data collected is then processed and used to produce a 3D model of the reef. The success rate of this process has been impressive as the resolution captured by the camera has been higher than was initially expected.
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