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July 23, 2024
PI Global Investments

Gold Fields says miner killed underground at South Deep mine

MIKE Fraser’s tenure as CEO of Gold Fields couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start after the company today said a miner had been killed at the firm’s South Deep mine.

The employee was fatally injured underground in an incident involving trackless mining equipment, Gold Fields said.

Mining activities at South Deep, which is located west of Johannesburg, had been suspended while an investigation into the incident by Government’s Department of Mineral Resources, unions and management was carried out, the firm said.

South Africa’s mining sector is still reeling from an accident in December at the Rustenburg 11 shaft operated by Impala Platinum. Thirteen miners lost their lives and 73 others were injured after a fault occurred while conveying miners to surface.

Fraser takes the reins at Gold Fields from interim CEO Martin Preece who ran the company following the resignation of Chris Griffith in November 2022.

In addition to today’s safety incident, Fraser also has to ensure that the Salares Norte project in Chile in commissioned without any more hiccups. Gold Fields said in December it had ordered a review of the project following a further delay until April.

Gold Fields last adjusted the commissioning date for Salares Norte in September but said in December that gold production in 2024 from Salares Norte would be between 220,000 to 250,000 ounces – about half of previous guidance of between 400,000 and 430,000 oz for the year (asssuming December 1 first production). Monthly steady-state production is now not expected until the beginning of 2025, the group said.

Earlier in December, Gold Fields announced that it would sell its 45% stake in Ghana mine Asanko to joint venture partner Galiano Gold, a Toronto-listed firm, for $170m.

Gold Fields is also waiting on the approval of the Ghana government before finalising an earlier deal – a joint venture merging its Tarkwa mine with Iduapriem, a neighbouring mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti. The joint venture proposal, unfurled by the two companies in March, would create Africa’s largest gold mine, they said.

It is envisaged that Ghana’s government will take a 10% stake in the joint venture diluting Gold Fields and AngloGold to 60% and 30% respectively. However, approval for the joint venture has not yet been forthcoming.

The two operations produce 700,000 to 800,000 ounces a year and the joint venture will produce 900,000 oz annually.

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