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Gold Fields third-quarter production falls

South Deep has faced numerous operational obstacles in a tough geological setting 3 km below the surface and is undergoing restructuring that would cut around about 1,100 jobs.

FILE: Miners at a Gold Fields mine. Picture: Gold Fields Limited Facebook page

JOHANNESBURG – Gold Fields said on Friday third-quarter production was down 3%, with its last South African asset, South Deep, weighing on total output.

South Deep has faced numerous operational obstacles in a tough geological setting 3km below the surface and is undergoing restructuring that would cut around about 1,100 jobs.

“Quarter 3 2018 was characterised by the international assets posting another strong operating performance and South Deep negatively impacted by the restructuring announced in August 2018,” said Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland in a statement.

Gold production for the quarter ended 30 September from continuing operations dropped to 533,000 ounces from 552,000 in the same period last year, with the struggling mine producing 50,000 ounces during the quarter.

The firm also has operations in Ghana, Peru, Chile, and Australia.

Majority union at South Deep, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), downed tools last week over the planned job cuts, with the firm warning it could threaten output and lead to even more layoffs.

Gold Fields said talks with NUM were “confrontational”, with morale impacted by the restructuring.

“This resulted in low morale in the workforce and uncertainty about job security and as such, the restructuring process has had a negative impact on productivity at South Deep,” said Holland.

The firm forecasts annual gold production at the mine to be around 154,600 ounces due to the strike.

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