Gold Fields feels pinch after fatalities
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