The difficulties at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine persisted into the first quarter of 2018, forcing a downward revision of the operation’s output for the year and lowering the group’s expected production.
Gold Fields lowered its forecast for the year to between 2-million and 2.05-million ounces of gold, from between 2.08-million and 2.1-million ounces, because of the drop in gold expected to come from South Deep, Business Day South Africa has reported.
Gold Fields has a large and growing international portfolio of gold mines and projects, but the South Deep project, which is ramping up to 480,000oz of gold in 2022, is often a focal point because of the ongoing difficulties the company has had in bringing to account the mine, in which it has invested heavily.
In 2017 South Deep, a large, mechanised mine that has already absorbed more than R29bn, undershot its full-year production target and generated 281,000oz of gold instead of the expected 315,000oz because of a poor safety performance in the first quarter of that year.
In 2018 the mine, which is Gold Fields’ last remaining asset in SA, got off to a poor start again, with CEO Nick Holland saying “South Deep had a tough start to 2018”.
South Deep’s production of 48,000oz for the March quarter was 41% lower than the December quarter but 4% higher than the same time a year earlier.