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Gold Fields begins construction of Salares Norte project

Friday, 22 January 2021

Santiago de Chile, 22 January 2021: Gold Fields (JSE, NYSE: GFI) has formally started construction of the mining infrastructure at its Salares Norte project, in line with the project’s construction schedule announced in February last year. Pre-stripping of the mine and construction of the process plant commenced this month.

Construction of the US$860m project is scheduled to be completed in late 2022, with first gold production in early 2023. Once commissioned, the mine will process two million tons of ore per year for the production of doré gold.

Salares Norte is located between 3,900m and 4,700m above sea level in the municipality of Diego de Almagro in the Atacama Region. The closest major city is Copiapó, about 330km from site. The project will create approximately 2,700 jobs during the peak of construction, while about 900 employees and contractors will be employed once it becomes operational.

Approximately 15% of the construction has been completed to date, including the mining camp for 1,800 people, related infrastructure and access roads.

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland paid tribute to the team in Chile for managing to remain on schedule despite the considerable challenges linked to keeping its employees and contractors safe from the impact of the Covid-19 virus.

"The early actions taken in response to the pandemic and our people's commitment enabled us to navigate the challenges of this unprecedented and highly complex situation and remain on track with the production schedule,” he said.

Max Combes, Director of the project, says Salares Norte is good news for Chile and the economy of the Atacama Region. “A project like Salares Norte generates a very valuable productive chain in the industry and significant economic opportunities in the region.”

According to Combes, “the project seeks to employ sustainable technologies that reduce its environmental footprint. These include solar PV power and filtered tailings to optimise water use”.


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