Gold Fields confirms Salares Norte will begin producing gold in April after series of delays

Gold Fields confirms Salares Norte will begin producing gold in April after series of delays
Gold Fields confirms Salares Norte will begin producing gold in April after series of delays

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Gold Fields Ltd. aims to increase production by a fifth over the next two years as a major project in Chile finally gets underway and the company’s latest asset in South Africa ramps up production.

Salares Norte, a $1.2 billion open pit mine at altitudes of up to 4,900 meters in Chile, will begin producing gold in April after a series of delays, Gold Fields said on Thursday. The miner has also improved the performance of its South Deep operation in South Africa, it said.

The company has diversified away from its base in South Africa, where producers face the challenges of extracting gold from the world’s deepest mines. Production from Gold Fields’ eight operating mines, from Australia and Ghana to Peru, fell slightly to 2.3 million ounces last year.

Gold Fields fell as much as 6.8% in Johannesburg trading, after its 2023 profits of $703.3 million missed the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Still, the miner’s shares have gained 56% since November 2022, when it ended its efforts to buy Yamana Gold Inc., affecting an expansion plan in the Americas.

The miner will only consider “small mergers and acquisitions,” Mike Fraser, who took over as CEO last month, said in an interview.

The company, which divested all but one of its South African assets a decade ago, is developing a Canadian joint venture that could enter production in 2026. It is also seeking government permission to merge one of its mines in Ghana with a neighboring project run by AngloGold. Ashanti Ltd.

Gold Fields is considering options for its Damang mine in Ghana, which has two years of reserves left to process. While the investment could extend the useful life of the asset, “it’s probably not for us,” Fraser said. Last year, the company sold its stake in another mine in the West African country.

 
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