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Diggers & Dealers: Gold Fields set to spend A$500m

Monday, 1 August 2016

South Africa’s Gold Fields says it plans to spend up to $500 million on exploring its WA gold tenements over the next five years, outlining an ambitious plan to grow its local presence in a presentation at Kalgoorlie’s Diggers and Dealers conference today.

Gold Fields legal and compliance vice president Kelly Carter told delegates at the conference the company - the seventh largest gold producer in the world - spent $92 million on exploration in WA last year, and planned a spend of $90 to $100 million a year for the next three to five years.

Ms Carter’s comments come as a raft of other WA miners are also talking up reinvestment in local projects through the drill-bit.

Northern Star Resources yesterday outlined a $62 million exploration spend across its mines in WA and the Northern Territory, and a reinvigorated exploration program is likely to be a feature of many company presentations at Diggers this week.

Gold Fields Australia boss boss Richard Weston told reporters on the side of the conference that the company had downgraded an acquisition strategy outlined last year and designed to help keep the company’s processing plants full.

Instead it had beefed up its exploration credentials and was now intent on building up its local operations through the drill bit.

“We’re still looking, we’re looking all the time. But we really haven’t found anything,” he said.

He said the surge in the gold price, and the big rise in market valuations of listed gold companies, had played a major role in that decision.

“The nature of the WA gold industry is changing, and any type of M&A is very expensive. And a lot of the other companies are doing that as well, so there’s a lot of competition.”

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