Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 August 2006 – Gold Fields Limited – Africa’s second-largest gold producer – expects its South Deep mine to reach full production of 800 000 ounces a year by 2014 – two years later than originally planned.
“The original target when Gold Fields acquired the mine was definitely not realistic,” company spokesman Willie Jacobsz told Bloomberg News. “We rebuilt the mine plan from scratch.”
The agency reports that Gold Fields bought half of South Deep – described as the world’s biggest gold deposit – from Barrick Gold Corporation for US$1.5 billion (R11.25 billion), and the remaining 50% after taking over Western Areas Limited early last year.
Gold Fields expenditure to develop South Deep will be about R130 000 a kilogram, said chief operating officer Vishnu Pillay, adding that the mine would be mechanised and would employ about 2 500 workers permanently.
The company bought South Deep to help boost production and mitigate the effect of rising costs in South Africa, according to Bloomberg. It plans to increase total production to about 5 million ounces annually in the next three to four years.
Gold Fields cut its estimate of reserves contained at South Deep by more than 1 million ounces after further investigating the size of the deposit.