AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng mine is located in Gauteng province of South Africa. It is mined to an average depth of 2,800m-3,400m below surface and is one of the world's deepest and richest gold mines with grades at over 8g/t. It is one of three AngloGold projects in the West Witts area apart from Savuka and TauTona mines. The name means 'look at me' in the local Sotho language.
Formerly the Western Deep Levels South Shaft, or Shaft No 1, Mponeng is the most recently sunk of the three former Western Deep Levels mines. Sinking of Mponeng shafts began in 1981, and the main shaft was completed in 1986, with the subshaft completed in 1993.
Currently all production is sourced from the VCR (Ventersdorp Contact Reef). The mine has been expanded through many deepening projects with the latest one being the extension from 109 to 120 levels. Work is currently in progress to extract the ore from the Carbon Leader Reef (CLR) below it.
The project will facilitate the development of many other smaller projects and extend the mine life. It is yet to be approved by the company board. The other major project, VCR below 120, entails accessing the mineral reserves below 120 level. AngloGold Ashanti estimates that this project will add 2.5Moz to production for 10 years at a cost of R2.03bn ($252m).
The VCR below 120 project is expected to increase the mine's life by eight years to 2024. The project was approved by the board in February 2007, following which construction began. On-reef development and thus the start of production is scheduled for 2013 with full production due in 2015