An Industrial and Commercial heartland, the City derived its name after the Farm; 'Welkom'. Welkom was founded in 1948 by Sir Earnest Oppenheimer, (who was the De Beers mining magnet.)
Welkom is the second-largest City in the Free State Province of South Africa. It is located about 140 Kilometers, North East of Bloemfontein. Welkom is also known as: 'Circle City, City Within A Garden and Matjhabeng'.
It attained Municipal status in 1961 and was declared a City in 1968. Unlike many gold-mining Towns, it was carefully planned from the beginning around a horseshoe-shaped Shopping and Administrative Area.
In addition to Gold and Uranium mining, Welkom has many Industries, including: Slaughtering, Steelmaking, Saw-Milling, and a variety of Manufactures. The City has a Technical College, a Technological Institute, and an Airport. (The Airport, however does not feature scheduled flights and is mainly used for locals travelling on private charter jets. The Airport has one paved runway with very basic facilities.)
The Population in 2001 was 34,158. Today, Welkom has a Population of over 200,000 people, and an Economy that has branched out from Mining into Industry and Agriculture.
The Mine was formerly operated by 'President Steyn Mining Company' and 'Thistle Mining' but with 'Harmony Gold's' acquisition of Pamodzi Gold’s Free State assets, the Steyn 2 shaft has been included in the operational management of 'Bambanani'.
The producing shafts are developed to a depth of 2225.04 Meters, with a hoisting capability of 140 000 000 Kilograms, per month. At present, the President Steyn operation is hoisting around 50,000 000 Kilograms per month, leaving significant scope for increased production.