The 6 Deepest Underground Mines In The World


The mining industry is pivotal to the global economy. Not only is coal still one of the lead...

NES Fircroft

By NES Fircroft

The mining industry is pivotal to the global economy. Not only is coal still one of the leading global energy resources, but a number of high-tech industries are dependent on a range of rare and precious metals and minerals.

In 2020, the revenue of the top 40 global mining companies, which represents the largest share of the whole industry, was worth 656 billion USD.

As our collective global hunger for these commodities has grown, mine operators have created mines that plunge deeper than ever into the earth. So, what are the deepest underground mines in the world that are so key to the production of many of these necessary elements?

Savuka Gold Mine

Located in the West Wits region of South Africa, the Savuka gold mine is the second deepest in the world, reaching a staggering depth of nearly 4km.

During its lifetime, Savuka has been a particularly productive, producing over 37,000oz of gold in 2012 alone. However, it has now reached the end of its productive life and very little operations are still being carried out at the mine.

Driefontein Mine

The Driefontein mine can be found near Carletonville in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. It comes in as the fourth deepest mine in the world at 3.4km in depth.

Operating since 1952, Driefontein consists of eight producing shaft systems using a combination of longwall and scattered mining methods.

As of December 2020, the mine had total gold mineral reserves of 2.5 million ounces and gold mineral resources of 11.3 million ounces.

In 2020, the mine produced 250,000oz of gold.

Kusasalethu Gold Mine

Formerly known as the Elandskraal gold mine, Kusasalethu is located 75km west of Johannesburg and began operation in 1978.

The fifth deepest mine in the world, the Kusasalethu operation employs conventional mining techniques in a sequential grid layout.

With a proven reserve of 2.7Moz of gold grading 0.208oz/t and a probable reserve of 4.4Moz of gold grading 0.172oz/t, Kusasalethu can be expected to continue operating for many more years.

In 2021, the mine was employing 4,260 people and produced just under 4000 tonnes of gold.

Moab Khotsong Gold Mine

One of the newest mines on this list, the Moab Khotsong mine has been in operation since 2003. Situated around 180km south-west of Johannesburg, Moab Khotsong is the sixth deepest mine in the world with its mining depth ranging between 2.6km and 3.054km below the surface.

Moab Khotsong represents one of the biggest uranium reserves in South Africa, with an estimated reserve of 57.2 million tonnes of ore grading 0.058% uranium.

Moab Khotsong employs a scattered mining method with an integrated backfill support system. With the recent deployment of new drilling machines, the mine is expected to continue producing until 2040.

South Deep Gold Mine

The seventh deepest mine on our list, the South Deep gold mine extends up to 2.99km below the surface.

Situated in the mining heartland near Johannesburg, South Deep switched from conventional mining to fully mechanised mining in 2008 and is expected to continue producing up to 2092, thanks to the completion of a major development project in 2016.

Great Noligwa Gold Mine

The Vaal River region of South Africa is home to the ninth deepest underground mine in the world: the Great Noligwa gold mine.

Reaching a depth of 2.4km, Great Noligwa utilises the pillar mining method, and has a proven reserve of 390,000oz of gold grading 8.75g/t (as of 2012).

NES Fircroft - digging deep for talent

Of course, the mines themselves are only part of the equation when it comes to securing valuable metals and other commodities. More important are the miners and support staff, whose talent and experience are key to making mining projects a success.

As a leading global provider of workforce solutions to the mining industry, including a large number of underground mines, NES Fircroft is in the perfect position to help you secure the talent you need to make your mining project a success.

NES Fircroft’s 100+ offices across the world, industry-leading contractor logistics and support services and financial strength means that no matter how challenging or specialised your mining project, we can support you and your contractors every step of the way.

If you’re an individual looking for your next position in mining, then register your CV with NES Fircroft today and unearth a wealth of opportunities.

About NES Fircroft

Since 1970 NES Fircroft has been providing workforce solutions to the global technical engineering industries. Not only do we have a wealth of vacancies in Mining & Minerals, but we also recruit for some of the biggest businesses in Oil & GasPetrochemicals & ChemicalsAutomotiveICTInfrastructure & Construction and Power, Nuclear & Utilities.