Sustainability Communities


Our host communities are key stakeholders for Gold Fields, as their support underpins our social licence to operate which, in turn, impacts our ability to create enduring value. These communities consist of individuals living near our operations who are or could be directly affected by our exploration, construction, operational or divestment activities. Each Group operation identifies their host communities to secure its legal and social licences to operate. An estimated 790,000 people live in approximately 60 communities surrounding our eight mines.

We strive to continuously improve our social performance, recognising that empowered host communities go beyond granting our licence to operate: they strengthen our business. The global economic slowdown of recent years continued to exacerbate economic hardships in our host communities. Many of our host communities expect Gold Fields to assist in alleviating their burdens by providing financial or other assistance. We believe the greatest benefit we can provide is to empower our host communities to build the long-term social, economic and environmental resilience they require. As such, we continue prioritising host community procurement, job creation and SED while, as far as possible, avoiding or minimising adverse impacts.

We developed our targeted Host Community Value Creation Strategy in 2016, when losing our social licence to operate ranked as the Group’s fifth highest risk. Through our dedicated roll-out of the strategy over the years, resulting in improved engagement with and value creation for our host communities, this risk has ranked consistently lower – in 2023, losing our social licence to operate is ranked eleventh of the Group’s top 15 risks.

The strategy guides our social performance and distinguishes between three host community value creation levers:

It also provides guidelines on managing social impacts and risks

Our Group Community Policy Statement outlines our dedication to cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with our host communities, host governments and other key stakeholders through meaningful and transparent engagement. Our Group Community and Government Charter promotes an approach underpinned by building strong relationships and trust, creating and sharing enduring value, measuring our actions and impacts, and delivering on our commitments. In accordance with the Charter’s commitments and our vision and purpose statements, our regions successfully implemented their annually updated government and community action plans in 2023.

Our community relations programmes depend on ongoing stakeholder engagement and grievance management. All our operations have stakeholder engagement plans and established grievance mechanisms to address and resolve grievances that may arise from our activities.

1 National value distribution equals total value distribution less payments to capital providers. See p32 for total value distribution



Host community suppliers companies


Host community jobs
in the mine value chain, comprising:








non-mining jobs

1In Ghana

Measuring host community value creation

We continually enhance our understanding of the value we create for our host communities by measuring the impact of our host community procurement, employment and SED investment. We created between US$600m and US$1bn in community value annually for the past eight years. This amounts to over US$6.3bn – a sustained and significant investment in the economic wellbeing of our host communities.

We incentivise our management teams with ESG targets. With the launch of the Group’s comprehensive 2030 ESG targets in 2021, a larger portion of incentives was allocated to meeting ESG-related goals. Our 2030 target is to share 30% of the total we distribute with our host communities. In 2023, 33% (US$1.09bn) of the US$3.29bn of national value that the Group distributed remained with our host communities. Our 2030 ESG targets also include developing six legacy programmes: we started implementing one legacy programme at our Cerro Corona mine in Peru and completed three development studies for others. Our second legacy programme will kick off in Chile in 2024.

We regularly conduct independent assessments to measure the quality of our relationships and understand the expectations of key stakeholders, including host communities and governments. We use these assessments to inform stakeholder engagement plans that help us to build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with these stakeholders. Over the years, we have seen a mostly positive upward trend in relationships with host communities around our operations. We will reassess the strength of our stakeholder relationships in 2024.

In 2022, the ICMM published its Social and Economic Reporting Framework (SERF), providing a set of contribution indicators that give stakeholders assess companies’ social and economic contributions. As an ICMM member, Gold Fields has committed to reporting against seven of the eight core indicators this year, including workforce composition, pay equality, wage level, provision of training, local procurement, education and skills support and capacity and institution support. From next year, we will also report against the framework’s country-by-country tax reporting indicator.

For more details on our SERF disclosures, refer to our Report to Stakeholders and our 2023 sustainability performance tables.

How our 2030 ESG targets guide host community value creation

Host community procurement

Guided by our Host Community Procurement Strategy, we seek opportunities for community-based enterprises to participate in our supply chains. When implemented effectively, this approach benefits the communities in which we operate and enhances the resilience and sustainability of our mines. Our drive to procure from our host communities supports economic development, community relations and capacity building and reaps environmental benefits by reducing long-distance transport.

In 2023, our total procurement spend amounted to US$2.5bn, 97% of which was spent on businesses based in the countries where we operate (2022: US$2.40bn/97%). We spent US$941m (37%) of our total procurement spend with host community suppliers and contractors (2022: US$747m/31%). This exceeds our annual target of 29% and is the main tool in meeting our 2030 ESG target of distributing 30% of our total value to host communities. Australia and Ghana continue to exceed annual host community procurement targets.

The Group has 743 active host community suppliers, and we engaged with them during the year on topics including Scope 3 emissions, the Group’s expectations and the support we offer.

For more details on our regional engagements with our business partners, refer to our Report to Stakeholders.

Host community SMEs are crucial partners, providing key products and services while creating jobs in our host communities and countries. Supporting them is critical as we work to meet our 2030 host community value creation target. We continued rolling out preferential payment terms for host community SMEs, particularly those led by minority and disadvantaged groups, which reduced payment terms from 30 days to 14 days (from date of ratified invoice). These improved terms address the cash-flow challenges often experienced by SME business partners.

The table below outlines our in-country and host community value creation progress:

Local (in-country) and host community procurement1

Local (in-country)
Local (in-country)
(% of total)
Host community
Host community
(% of total)

2023(US$m) 2022(US$m) 2023 2022 2023(US$m) 2022(US$m) 2023 2022
Australia 1,212 1,085 99% 99% 349RA 284 30%RA 27%
South Africa 249 268 100% 100% 58RA 53 23%RA 20%
Ghana 841 840 93% 94% 503RA 379 56%RA 42%
Peru 234 226 96% 94% 31RA 31 13%RA 13%
Group 2,537 2,419 97% 97% 941RA 747 37% 31%
1 Host community data excludes our corporate and regional offices, as well as projects in Chile and Philippines

Host community employment

We prioritise employing host community members at our operations and encourage our contractors and suppliers to do the same. We support this with training, education and skills development initiatives to improve our host communities’ skills base.

At the end of 2023, 51% of our workforce – or 8,834 people – were employed from our host communities (2022: 52%/9,473 people). This slight decrease is due to high regional employment and shortage of accommodation in host communities in Australia, along with declining regional populations. We hope to maintain and increase current levels of host community employment. These jobs have significant multiplier effects, particularly in developing countries, and are critical for the estimated 790,000 residents of our host communities.

Beyond creating employment opportunities at our mines or with our contractors – where we have limited scope to create jobs – we also seek to create non-mining jobs, particularly linked to SED projects, legacy programmes and the wider supply chain. Non-mining jobs can continue to provide benefits to host communities during and beyond the lives of our operations.

We continued to ensure our SED projects – detailed on the next page – also grow and sustain non-mining jobs. During the year, we created 1,360 non-mining jobs (2022: 794) through our community investments in South Africa, Ghana and Peru. Due to their inherent nature, many of our SED projects do not necessarily provide long-term solutions but create income and skills development.

The following projects created significant non-mining jobs during 2023:

Refer to our Report to Stakeholders for more information.

National and host community workforce employment1
Country Total
% of employees –
% of workforce –
host community1
2023 2022 2023 2022
Australia 3,774 76% 77% 510 15% 18%
South Africa 5,281 87% 87% 3,231 63% 63%
Ghana 6,604 99% 99% 4,538 69% 71%
Americas 5,867 98% 98% 556 27% 26%
Group 21,526 87% 87% 8,834 51%RA 52%
3 Includes Philippines, our Corporate Office and Chile

Socio-economic development investment in host communities

We demonstrate our commitment to sustainable development by prioritising SED investment in our host communities beyond procurement and employment. These investments aim to foster community development and strengthen our social licence to operate. Through targeted, qualitative initiatives in education, healthcare, infrastructure and economic diversification, we enhance the wellbeing and resilience of our host communities during and beyond the lives of our mines.

We invested US$17m in SED projects in our host communities during 2023 (2022: US$21m). The reason for the decline in 2023 was mainly due to the suspension of Gold Fields Ghana Foundation projects during Q3 2023 for safety audit purposes. The South Deep trusts also struggled to find appropriate implementation partners. Our regions have dedicated SED investment funds delivered directly or through our foundation and independent trusts. Our mines collaborate with host governments, development organisations and NGOs to deliver these programmes.

Significant projects we supported during the year include:

Group SED spend (US$m)1

2023 2022 2021
17.18RA 21.21 16.36

Group SED by category (2023) (US$m)1
Infrastructure 7.89
Education and training 3.49
Health and wellbeing 0.85
Economic diversification 3.54
Conservation and environment 0.26
Charitable giving 1.15
Total 17.18RA
1 Excludes spending by Salares Norte

Group legacy programmes

Our 2030 ESG stakeholder value creation targets include developing six legacy programmes by 2030. The legacy programmes go beyond SED investment: they aim to create enduring value by addressing our host communities’ most pressing development needs while ensuring economic value creation beyond the life-of-mine and outside the mine’s supply chain.

The programmes are designed to contribute to the UN SDGs and promote economic diversification and employment; climate resilience and protection of water and nature; sustainable and profitable agriculture; cultural and heritage preservation; and good health.

During the year, we continued to roll-out our most advanced legacy programme: a dairy value chain development programme to benefit Cerro Corona’s host communities during and beyond its life-ofmine. The programme is expected to benefit approximately 800 families directly.

Managing host community impact and risks

Artisanal, small-scale and illegal mining in Ghana

The Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Prestea-Huni Valley municipalities, which host our Damang and Tarkwa mines, are major centres for legal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), as well as illegal small-scale mining activities (known as galamsey). During 2023, we experienced 49 and 17 illegal mining incursions at Damang and Tarkwa, respectively. These occurred mainly at waste dumps and inactive satellite pits.

There has been reoccurring encroachment by illegal miners at Tarkwa’s Mantraim shaft. The police evicted the miners and multi-stakeholder engagements are ongoing to prevent continued invasion. At the Asanko mine, in which Gold Fields held a 45% equity stake until 4 March 2024, there have been a number of incidents involving galamsey that have led to fatalities among the illegal miners, police and private security during 2023 and 2024.

Illegal mining is concerning for several reasons. Individuals could potentially be injured and local unrest could erupt, besides the loss of surface-rich ore, potential damage to mine property and assets, and mercury and cyanide contamination of our water resources. Illegal mining is also often accompanied by adverse social impacts on host communities, such as child labour.

Our strategy to address illegal mining focuses on consistent engagement with and sensitisation of community members and other stakeholders, as well as regular security patrols to demonstrate zero tolerance of illegal mining on our concessions. Any arrests and prosecutions of illegal miners by local police are undertaken in adherence to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. We seek to ensure that the police and our community patrols undergo regular training in these principles.

We understand illegal mining provides income to communities where unemployment and poverty are rife. For this reason, we seek to create alternative jobs through community development, alternative livelihoods and graduate trainee programmes, which focus on employing young people in our host communities. These include:

For more details on significant projects, our legacy programme in Peru, and ASM and illegal mining in Ghana, refer to our Report to Stakeholders.

Working with Aboriginal communities in Australia

Gold Fields recognises that First Nations peoples and communities are integral partners to the mining industry and key stakeholders to the social and economic contribution of mining activities.

Our Aboriginal engagement in Australia is built on three strategic pillars:

Native Title

All our Australian mines are located on land subject to Native Title claims and determinations. Native Title refers to the traditional rights and interests held by a group of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who are formally recognised by the Federal Court of Australia under the Native Title Act of 1993 (Native Title Act).

The table below describes the current claims and determinations:

Site Native Title Group
Gruyere Entire operation: Determined Native
Title claim
Yilka People and Sullivan families
Granny Smith Entire operation: Determined Native
Title claim
Nyalpa Pirniku People
St Ives Main area of operations: Determined Native Title claimRemaining area (exploration): Registered Native Title claims Determined: Ngadju People | Claim: Marlinyu Ghoorlie People | Claim: Kakarra People
Agnew (north) Determined Native Title claim Tjiwarl People
Agnew (south) Currently no claim or determination
Agnew (far south) Determined Native Title claim Darlot People

A key element of our engagement with Aboriginal stakeholders is our commitment to agreementmaking with determined Native Title holders. These agreements can help foster strong and transparent relationships by establishing structured channels of communication; providing commitments and identifying initiatives to achieve greater education, employment and contracting outcomes; allocating funding for community programmes; building cultural awareness and understanding through learning and immersion opportunities; and incorporating best practice environmental and cultural heritage management practices. In addition, these agreements can provide financial benefits to Native Title parties that could settle any liability for compensation Gold Fields may have under the Native Title Act.

At our Gruyere mine, Gold Fields is party to a comprehensive agreement with the determined Native Title holders for the area: the Yilka People and Sullivan families. Through this agreement, we explore ways to sustain and grow employment, business and community development opportunities with the Yilka Talintji Aboriginal Corporation (YTAC), which is the Registered Native Title Body Corporate for the group. We also actively support and promote YTAC’s conservation and land management activities, such as the sandalwood harvesting programme of YTAC’s subsidiary, Yilka Heritage and Land Care.

We are currently progressing negotiations for similar comprehensive agreements with the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation for Agnew and with the Ngadju Native Title Aboriginal Corporations for St Ives.

Our commitment to reconciliation

In 2018, we partnered with Reconciliation Australia, a non-profit organisation, to launch our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), advancing reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Aboriginal people. Our Reflect RAP, launched in 2020, focused on relationships, awareness, and understanding barriers. This informed our 2022 Innovate RAP, which is in its second year of implementation. Our Innovate RAP is focused on initiatives in education, training, employment, procurement, cultural awareness, community support and heritage management.

For more details on our Innovate RAP and our protection of cultural heritage in Australia, refer to our Report to Stakeholders.

Stakeholder related reports