7. GEOLOGICAL PROJECTS
As part of the Harmony groupís longer-term growth strategy, management continues to pursue opportunities to expand its minesí mineral resource base. To this end, various mine expansion projects are under investigation.
Mine expansion projects are being conducted at Evander No. 3 and No. 8 Shafts. The No. 8 Shaft project is looking at the potential to extend the current workings northwest into the Rolspruit block of ground. The Evander No. 3 Shaft area has been identified as an area with excellent ore reserve potential. This area could have the potential to replace and exceed the diminishing No. 9 Shaft production. The Poplar project at Evander continues to be one of the best shallow depth unexploited orebodies left in the Witwatersrand Basin. Due to the capital expenditure required, as well as the long lead time to completion, we will continue to focus on value creating acquisition opportunities rather than commit to the project at this stage. Poplar is likely to be one of the next generation mines in South Africa.
At Randfontein, the South Reef that underlies the Doornkop lease area has also been identified as having an excellent mineral resource and reserve potential. This project is well advanced.
At Elandskraal, a project team is managing the Shaft Deepening project to access the down dip extension of the current mining operations (98 level). There are an estimated 189 tonnes of gold in situ in this block of ground. The expenditure and activities in deepening the shaft system have been completed and it is envisaged that the last of the capital development to the reef will be completed by the year 2006. Stoping in this block is scheduled to begin in 2002 and is expected to continue through to 2021.
To facilitate the exploitation of this Elandskraal block of ground, a detailed geological and grade evaluation of the VCR over the lease area has been completed, incorporating a 3D seismic survey, diamond drilling and all the detailed mapping of the past. This work has helped with the understanding of the geological model for this block of ground, which is expected to mirror the model developed for the upper levels of Elandskraal.