TauTona Mine or Western Deep No.3 Shaft, is a gold mine in
South Africa. At approximately 3.9 kilometers (2.4 mi) deep, it
is home to the world's deepest mining operations, rivalled only by the
Mponeng gold mine.
The mine is one of the three Western Deep Levels mines of the West
Wits gold field west of Johannesburg. The mine is near the town of
Carletonville. TauTona neighbours the
Mponeng and Savuka mines, and
TauTona and Savuka share processing facilities. All three are owned by
AngloGold Ashanti. The mine was built by the Anglo American
Corporation and its 2 km (1.2 mi) deep main shaft was sunk
in 1957. The name TauTona means "great lion" in the Setswana language.
The mine began operation in 1962. It is one of the most efficient
South Africa and remains in continuous operation even during
periods when the price of gold is low. Since its construction, two
secondary shafts have been added bringing the mine to its current
depth. The mine has some 800 km (500 mi) of tunnels and
employs around 5,600 miners. The mine is a dangerous place to
work, with an average of five miners dying in accidents each year. The
mine is so deep that temperatures in the mine can rise to
life-threatening levels. Air-conditioning equipment is used to cool
the mine from 55 °C (131 °F) down to a more tolerable
28 °C (82 °F). The rock face temperature reaches
60 °C (140 °F).
By 2008, the mine reached 3.9 km (2.4 mi) underground. This
made it the deepest mine in the world, surpassing the 3.5 km
(2.2 mi) deep
East Rand Mine
East Rand Mine by a considerable margin. This new
shaft extended the depth from its previous 3.5 km (2.2 mi),
with the intent of extending the mine's life to 2015.
The lift cage that transports the workers from the surface to the
bottom travels at 16 metres per second (36 mph / 58 km/h) so together
with traveling on horizontal trolleys the journey to the rock face can
take up to 1 hour from the surface level.
The mine has been featured on the
MegaStructures television program
produced by the National Geographic Channel.
In the 2008 financial year, there were seven fatal accidents at
AngloGold Ashanti's West Wits operations in which 14 miners died, four
of those at the TauTona mine. One fatality was recorded the next
Production figures of the recent past were:
Cost per ounce
^ "TauTona, Anglo Gold -
Mining Technology". SPG Media Group PLC.
2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
AngloGold Ashanti website:
South Africa country report 2008" (PDF).
AngloGold Ashanti. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on
2009-10-07. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ a b c d Annual Report 2009
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 9
^ a b c Annual Report 2005
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11
^ Annual Report 2006
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 July 2010
^ a b Annual Report 2011
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 30 dec
^ Annual Report 2012
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 11 nov '13
^ Annual Report 2013
AngloGold Ashanti website, accessed: 24 mar '16
^ Annual Report 2014
^ Annual Report 2015
AngloGold Ashanti website
Tau Tona mine (ZAF-00566) Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and
Pacific Group of States website
Cripple Creek & Victor