SUSTAINABILITY Environmental management

Environmental management


Gold Fields is committed to sound environmental stewardship. We aim to use the natural resources our business depends on responsibly, care for the environment in our operational and surrounding areas and limit the impact of our operations on our host communities.

Our mining activities can result in adverse environmental impacts on our host communities, including:

  • Water consumption or withdrawal from surface and underground sources within our community catchments, which could deplete shared resources
  • Environmental incidents, including spillages of hydrocarbons, chemicals or processing water. These can lead to pollution of surface and groundwater sources, impact on aquatic life, land and soils, or fauna and flora
  • Dust emissions from our TSFs, waste rock dumps, blasting and roads, which could impact ambient air quality
  • Noise and vibrations from our blasting activities can impact our neighbouring communities
  • Land clearance for new or expanded mining activities could impact economic livelihoods (like agricultural activities) and cultural heritage

Our overall commitment to our communities, as embedded in our 2030 ESG targets, is for zero serious environmental incidents. We have separate ESG targets for water, tailings and climate change that seek to ensure we meet our commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources and the environment as well as minimising the risks posed to our host communities from environmental impacts. These include our responsibility to comply with regulatory requirements, obligations relating to the rules, codes and standards we subscribe to, including the International Cyanide Management Code.

Through our Group policy statements and guidelines, as well as our ISO 14001:2015 certified environmental management systems at each operation, we have processes in place to identify and assess potential risks and impacts, implement mitigation and management measures, and apply monitoring and evaluation programmes to avoid and, where we cannot prevent, manage potential environmental impacts on our host communities.

Environmental incidents

The Group met its 2023 target of zero serious environmental incidents, in line with our 2030 ESG target.

Our environmental incidents are classified by type and severity from Level 1 – Level 5. Level 5 is the most severe, as these incidents could seriously impact our operations, communities and the environment. We consider Level 3 – 5 incidents as serious environmental incidents. We have not recorded a Level 4 or Level 5 incident in over a decade or a Level 3 incident since 2018.

We continue to track and manage our less serious Level 2 environmental incidents, which assists us in preventing more serious incidents. Level 2 incidents improved from 2022, continuing our positive trend over the past five years.

Seven of the Level 2 environmental incidents recorded in 2023 related to a loss of containment and one related to wildlife mortalities. The detailed investigations into deaths of ducks at Agnew mine in 2022 and January 2023 resulted in netting being placed over water storage ponds at the mine; there have been no further related incidents.

Group environmental incidents1
Level 3 – 5 Level 2
2023 0RA 8RA
2022 0 10
2021 0 7
2020 0 12
2019 0 37
1 Level 1 and 2 environmental incidents involve minor incidents or non-conformances with negligible or short-term limited impact. A Level 3 incident results in limited non-conformance or non-compliance with ongoing but limited environmental impact. Level 4 and 5 incidents include major non-conformances or non-compliances, which could result in long-term environmental harm, with Company or operation-threatening implications and potential damage to Company reputation