INVESTORS AND MEDIA Media releases
Lima, 12 April 2019: Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) (JSE, NYSE: GFI) on Wednesday hosted a webcast presentation from its Lima offices on its Salares Norte Project in Chile. The presentation was led by Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland and Salares Norte Project Director Max Combes and provided further information on the project. The presentation and recording of the webcast can be found on the Gold Fields website at www.goldfields.com.
The Salares Norte feasibility study was completed in late 2018 and the findings of the study presented to the Gold Fields Board in February 2019. The Board approved a maiden Mineral Reserve and the technical components of the feasibility study.
One of the main approvals for the project is the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which was accepted by the Chilean regulator for review on 11 July 2018. Gold Fields anticipates the EIA review to take 18 – 24 months to complete.
This time period will give Gold Fields sufficient time to consider funding options for the anticipated US$834m in project capital expenditure. Depending on the timing of the EIA decision, construction could commence in late 2020 with first gold production in 2023.
In December 2018, Gold Fields updated the project's Mineral Resources and Reserves, reporting a total gold Mineral Resource of 3.9Moz of gold and 44Moz of silver. More pertinently, a maiden Mineral Reserve has been declared with 3.5Moz of gold and 39Moz of silver. The gold-equivalent Mineral Reserve is 4.0Moz.
Key findings of the feasibility study include the following potential operational parameters for Salares Norte:
|•||Initial 11.5-year life-of-mine|
|•||Annual throughput of 2Mt|
|•||Life-of-mine production of 3.7Moz gold-equivalent|
|•||Average annual production of 450koz gold equivalent for the first seven years at AISC of US$465/oz|
|•||Project construction capital of US$834m (in Q4 2018 terms)|
|•||Internal rate of return of 25% at a US$1,300/oz gold price with a 2.2-year payback period|
The project envisages open pit operations with a processing plant that includes both Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP) and Merrill Crowe processes, due to the high silver content of the ore. The processing plant could deliver recovery rates of around 92% for gold. In addition, filtered and dry stack tailings will be used for safety, water scarcity and environmental reasons. Contractor mining is likely to be used for Salares Norte.
Land easement for 30 years was granted on 30 May 2016 and water rights for the project were obtained on 29 December 2016, with the regulator granting Gold Fields access to 114.27l/second (more than double what the project is planning to use). Energy demand for the project is estimated at 12MW, with an independent power producer (IPP) operating an onsite 14MW diesel power station to meet this requirement. A staged approach to incorporating renewable energy sources is also being considered.