South Deep’s underground operations are accessed from surface by two shafts systems: the Twin Shaft Complex and the South Shaft Complex.
- The Twin Shaft Complex comprises a Main and Ventilation Shaft. The Main Shaft extends in a single drop to 2,995m below surface, while the ventilation shaft extends to a depth of 2,947m below surface.
- The South Shaft Complex is a sub-vertical system, with three operating shafts, which extend to a depth of 2,786m.
The mine is divided into three main areas that reach depths of between 2,800m and 3,300m beneath the surface:
- The Current Mine uses a selective access development and Longhole open stoping mining method. Mining is scattered over a large area, which was originally mined using conventional tabular mining. The Current Mine is accessed from three active levels—90, 93 and 95 levels — via both South and Twin shafts. Levels are tunnels excavated from the shaft to access the orebody.
- The North of Wrench area, which is directly south and down-dip of the Current Mine, is accessed from Twin shaft. The wrench refers to the wrench fault, a geological feature that splits the orebody and does not contain gold. This mining area comprises six corridors separated by regional pillars. This area is mined using horizontal mechanised de-stress and long-hole stoping methods and is accessed from two active levels and ramp systems.
- The South of Wrench area, which is where the bulk of mining at South Deep will take place in future. The area will be developed once the necessary infrastructure to exploit the area has been installed. The South of Wrench area is accessed from Twin Shaft.