Gold Fields profits while South Deep remains problematic

by Ina King (Potgieter)

Gold FieldsAugust 2015: Gold Fields has seen a considerable improvement at the end of the second quarter despite the falling gold price and the continued troubles at South Deep mine – Gold Fields’ remaining gold mine in SA.

At a presentation of the company’s results in Johannesburg, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland reported on stabilised earnings at the end of June, recorded at $22 million against a loss of $13 million in the previous quarter. This can be attributed to Gold Fields’ successful operations in Ghana, Australia and Peru.

South Deep Mine

After production delays, fatal accidents and the plunging gold price, Gold Fields announced that South Deep’s projected yearly output fell by 8.5% with only 6 500 kilograms (229 280 oz.) to be produced – compared to the 7 100 kilograms (250 445 oz.) projected by the mining giant.

Holland told investors that the company is continuing to advance efforts to “get the basics right” at South Deep, which he maintained, was starting to show “green shoots”.

Gold Fields plans to increase the number of skilled employees at the mine by 160. This decision was made subsequent to the June announcement that it had signed a three-year wage deal until March 2018, providing a degree of stability. The operation aims to break-even by the end of 2016.

In light of this goal, Gold Fields’ has acquired an additional 27 pieces of equipment to “debottleneck” the mine’s constraints in distress mining, introduce dedicated crews to install secondary support, increase backfill production and rip distress ends.

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