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Gold Fields had a solid September 2021 quarter, with attributable gold equivalent production for Q3, 2021 of 606 koz, up 9% YoY (up 8% QoQ).
South Deep in particular had a good quarter, with production up 30% QoQ. All-in cost (AIC) increased by 18% YoY (down 3% QoQ) to US$1,263/oz largely due to the capital expenditure at Salares Norte increasing from US$23 million to US$108 million, while all-in sustaining costs (AISC) increased 5% YoY (and decreased 8% QoQ) to US$1,016/oz.
AIC would have increased by 3% to US$1,050/oz from US$1,024/oz if the significant project capex at Salares Norte and the appreciation of the Australian Dollar and South African Rand are excluded.
The Australian region produced 256koz at AIC of A$1,499/oz (US$1,102/oz) and AISC of A$1,386/oz (US$1,018/oz). Mines in Ghana produced on a managed basis 214 koz (including 45% of Asanko) at AIC of US$1,097/oz and AISC of US$1,072/oz.
South Deep had a good September 2021 quarter, with managed production of 88 koz at an AIC of R567,550/kg (US$1,208/oz) and AISC of R542,660/kg (US$1,155/oz).
South Deep remains on track to meet the revised guidance provided with the Q1 2021 operating update, despite certain maintenance activities planned in Q4 2021. US$620 million from US$663 million at the end of June 2021
So far this year (as at 8 November 2021), Gold Fields have recorded 14 deaths among its workforce; ten at South Deep in South Africa, and two each in Peru and Ghana. Eight of these fatalities occurred in Q3 2021, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the company to 20 since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
Gold Fields has accelerated the COVID-19 vaccinations among its workforce and are collaborating closely with our host governments in doing so.
As at 8 November 2021, the company surpassed over 15,000 first vaccinations:
72% of the workforce has received at least one vaccination and 50% is fully vaccinated. In all but Ghana, where access to vaccinations is limited, the company's operations have achieved a level of at least 70% first dosage.
South Deep and Salares Norte continue to lead the way with well over 90% of employees receiving their first dose. Where it is legally permissible, Gold Fields is considering mandatory vaccination among employees.
Gold Fields Australia has introduced its policy on the back of the Western Australian state government's mandatory vaccination policy for all Fly-in, Fly-out (FIFO) workers (first dose no later than 1 December 2021, second dose by 1 January 2022), and have extended this to Perth office employees as well.
Mandatory vaccination is not permissible under the law in Peru and Chile, while a shortage of vaccinations makes this unfeasible in Ghana at present. Apart from vaccination campaigns, we continue to support our workforce through, amongst others, educational awareness, programmes, implementing stringent safety protocols, rapid testing and offering medical assistance if employees contract the virus.
During the first three quarters of 2021, our operations spent approximately US$16.8 million on COVID-19 related initiatives and interventions, such as specialised camp accommodation, testing equipment and facilities, additional labour costs and transport facilities.
A further US$1.7 million was spent on donations to assist governments and communities in their fight against the pandemic. In 2020, the respective figures were US$30 million and US$3 million.
While there was no fatal incident at our operations in Q3 2021, we reported three serious injuries, bringing the total in the year to date to seven. Six serious injuries were recorded in 2020. There have been no lost time injuries at Tarkwa, Damang and Agnew in 2021 year to date, demonstrating that eliminating fatalities and serious injuries is possible, particularly since these results have come during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) moved back to a downward trend in Q3 2021, after two years of increases, driven in part by a drive to increase reporting transparency across the group.
Gold Fields is on track to publish its ESG priorities, accompanied by wide-ranging objectives and detailed 2030 targets, on 1 December 2021.
Ratings agency MSCI upgraded its ESG rating of Gold Fields from BBB to A for the first time, while rating group ISS assigned Gold Fields a top rating of E 1 S 1 G 1.