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Tarkwa gold mine heap leach facilities suspended

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Johannesburg, 26 July 2012: Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) (JSE, NYSE, NASDAQ Dubai: GFI) has received a directive from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana to stop discharging water from its Heap Leach facilities at the Tarkwa Gold Mine (Tarkwa) in Ghana.

To comply with this directive, the operation of all Heap Leach facilities at Tarkwa has been suspended since 16 July 2012. Despite this, there has been no material impact on production to date.

The EPA directive further requires that all water discharges from the mine's Heap Leach facilities should be treated through a water treatment plant to reduce conductivity levels. Conductivity is a measure of the amount of dissolved salts in discharged water and is classified internationally as a non-toxic pollutant.

Gold Fields believes that Tarkwa was complying with the prescribed conductivity levels in its water discharges, but is nonetheless conducting further investigations to validate this.  

However, in pursuit of environmental best practice and world class environmental stewardship, and to comply with the directive, Gold Fields has commissioned the construction of two water treatment plants at Tarkwa's North and South Heap Leach facilities. The plants are expected to be operational before the end of 2012.

In the interim, Tarkwa is engaging with the EPA with a view to reopen and operate the Heap Leach facilities while the water treatment plants are being built. Gold Fields is hopeful that a mutually acceptable solution can be found in the near term.

The Carbon-in-Leach plant at Tarkwa, which produces about 75% of the gold at this mine, has not been affected by the closure of the heap leach facilities and continues to operate normally and without interruptions.


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