Gold Fields feels pinch after fa­tal­i­ties

CityPress - - Business -

Re­me­dial ac­tion to ad­dress two fa­tal­i­ties this year at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, 60km west of Johannesburg in We­stonaria, could threaten the mine’s pro­duc­tion tar­get for this year.

Dur­ing a visit to the mine this week, Adri­aan de Beer, the gen­eral man­ager of South Deep, said per­for­mance in the first quar­ter was “not look­ing good” as the re­me­dial mea­sures had a “sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on mine pro­duc­tion”. This year, the South Deep mine is fore­cast to pro­duce 315 000 ounces of gold.

New pro­duc­tion fore­casts for South Deep, which has a twin shaft that ex­tends 3km into the earth, would be re­leased next month, De Beer said.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Hol­land said the short-term trou­bles at South Deep wouldn’t af­fect the in­tegrity of the com­pany’s longterm plans.

Sven Lun­sche, a spokesper­son for Gold Fields, said South Deep’s per­for­mance for the first quar­ter would be is­sued in May.

In the mid­dle of last month, Gold Fields re­leased new fore­casts from this year to 2022 for South Deep, which em­ploys more than 6 000 peo­ple, fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive, year­long re­view of the mine.

The com­pany has bat­tled to get South Deep to achieve its tar­gets since buy­ing a stake in the mine in De­cem­ber 2006.

He said that, as ef­fi­ciency at the mine im­proved, the staff com­ple­ment at the op­er­a­tion could drop to 4 500, but added that “we are not there yet” and there was “still a long way to go”.

In­vestors have been wor­ried about the de­par­ture of Nico Muller, who will be­come the CEO of Im­pala Plat­inum next month. Muller was the top ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­ble for Gold Fields’ South African op­er­a­tions. De Beer said the com­pany was search­ing for a re­place­ment. Gold Fields is plan­ning to spend R2.3 bil­lion on South Deep over the next six years to in­crease its out­put from 290 400 ounces of gold last year to 500 000 ounces by 2022.

Brown – Justin

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