As always, news in Africa’s mining sector never slows down. Take a look at seven of the most interesting stories from the last fortnight and find out what’s been happening.

Rundown of the latest news in Africa’s mining sector

20th July – South Africa: A record six months without any Fog fatalities in gold or platinum mines

There have been no fall-of-ground (also called Fog)-caused deaths in South Africa’s gold or platinum mines for six months, a record safety performance.

According to Dr. Sizwe Phakathi, Safety Head for the SA Minerals Council, it is the first time in South Africa’s history that gold and platinum mines have had no Fog fatalities in the first half of the year.

What’s more, there have been no Fog fatalities across South Africa’s entire mining sector in the second quarter of 2022, a sign of the improved safety of mines in the country. This time last year, the industry had seen a total of 11 deaths caused by Fog in the first six months of the year.

19 July – Lesotho: Huge diamond unearthed in Letšeng Mine

A white 114 ct Type I diamond was discovered in Letšeng mine in Lesotho, making it the third diamond greater than 100 ct to be found in the mine in the past three months. A 245 ct diamond was unearthed in June while a 125 ct diamond was recovered in May.

Large diamonds of 100 ct or more are of extremely high value and these kinds account for 70% and 80% of Letšeng’s annual revenue.

Owned by London-listed miner Gem Diamonds, Letšeng mine is one of the world’s top ten diamond producers in terms of revenue.

19 July – Ghana: Resources from Nkosuo project to increase life-of-Mine of Edikan mine

Perseus Mining, an Australian gold miner, recently finished a feasibility study on its Nkosuo project in Ghana. The results of the study show that Nkusuo will produce an estimated 272,000 oz of gold over three years, at a price of between $870/oz and $890/oz.

Ore from the mine will be processed at the Edikan mine’s mill, which will extend the life of Edikan as an operating mine by another 18 to 24 months, and the mine life will be drawn out until 2027.

Nkusuo has an approximate 0.95 million tonnes of mineral resource deposits with a gold density of 0.90 g/t for every 27,000 oz of contained gold. The mine is also conjectured to hold a 10-million-tonne probable ore reserve at 1.04 g/t gold for 332,000 oz of gold.

19 July – South Africa: Mining firm Pan African enjoying record gold production

South African miner Pan African has achieved record numbers in annual gold production for the 2022 financial year (FY) so far, according to a preliminary operational update.

Pan African found it had increased gold production by 2%, from producing 201,777 oz of gold by FY2021 to recording 205,459 oz for FY2022 during the reporting period.

The company also achieved 3% higher production than the upwardly revised guidance of 200,000 oz, and 5% higher production than the initial guidance of 195,000 oz.

FY2023 is expected to yield similar production figures.

18 July – South Africa: Startup prepares to launch affordable 3D metal printing solution for mining equipment

Tech startup Aditiv Solutions will be launching its flagship 3D metal printer HYRAX at the Electra Mining Africa (EMA) exhibition in Johannesburg in September, presenting an exciting development in the manufacturing industry.

The 3D printer uses metal powder melted down by a high-powered laser to print machine parts for mechanical equipment, including mining equipment. The parts are printed directly from CAD models using an additive manufacturing process.

This method means that the printer can produce complex parts that are lightweight. Through the HYRAX printer and additive manufacturing, CAD model designers can also reduce how many parts are needed in mechanical equipment.

Aditiv also claims that its 3D printer is a cost-effective yet high-quality manufacturing solution. Various metals can be used to generate the parts, such as aluminium, stainless steel, nickel alloys, titanium, cobalt/chrome, and tool steel.

The affordability of Aditiv’s technology means that 3D printing will become a more feasible manufacturing option for various industries.

15 July – Zimbabwe: Blanket gold Mine achieves its highest production yet for any quarter

Another mine achieving record gold production this year is Blanket Gold Mine, an underground mine owned by the Caledonia Mining Corporation. Situated on the Gwanda Greenstone Belt in Zimbabwe, the underground mine had record production for the end of the latest financial quarter of 2022 (Q2 2022), the final assay at the refiners found.

The 20,091 oz of gold produced in the quarter is the highest amount produced for any of the mines’ previous quarters, and Caledonia’s COO Dana Roets says that the mine’s performance “exceeded [their] expectations.” The production is 20% higher than the mine’s production in Q2 2021 of 16,710 oz.

The yield just surpassed the company’s quarterly target of 20,000 oz of gold and the mine is en route to achieving its target for the year, which is 73,000 – 80,000 oz of gold.

13 July – South Africa: Country’s mining sector wants to help ease pressure on national power grid

South Africa’s mining industry is focused on decreasing its power consumption to lessen the load on Eskom’s national power grid by up to 30% – as well as cut operating costs.

The strain on the country’s grid has meant that what is nationally referred to as ‘load shedding’ – or rolling blackouts – are often necessary to stop the grid from being overwhelmed, and at present, the mining sector consumes 30% of the grid’s power.

Load shedding has been a recurring part of South African life for over ten years and has been more regular in the past few months due to the higher use of electricity that occurs during winter in the country. These power cuts disrupt operations and production and damage mining infrastructure, causing companies to lose millions in revenue. The damage to this infrastructure also poses serious health and safety risks to underground mine workers.

As such, businesses countrywide are aiming to ease pressure on the grid by looking to other power options and finding ways to reduce their operations’ power use.

In this regard, the mining sector aims to initiate and construct 73 self-generation power projects using renewable energy sources – both wind and solar. This will lessen energy expenses for mines, be more sustainable, and prevent intermittent disruptions to mines’ power, making mines safer and stopping infrastructural damage.

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