Gold Fields

Annual Report


Currently viewing: Climate change / Next: Water management

Our business

Climate change

Gold Fields' climate change programme focuses on the assessment and mitigation of climate change-related risks, including the development and implementation of action plans and energy management programmes to reduce emissions , while at the same time ensuring water security. Gold Fields' objectives are to minimise the Company's contribution to climate change and to build resilience to impacts of climate-related risks on our operations and host communities. It is increasingly clear that the negative physical impacts of climate change are real and immediate, due to:

  • The long-term risks posed by climate change to the Group's operations and surrounding communities
  • Increasing efforts to regulate carbon emissions in most of our jurisdictions
  • Taxes increasingly imposed by governments on non-renewable energy consumption

Climate change-related regulations, comprising carbon emission and renewable energy targets, continue to evolve across our regions, and we consistently assess and investigate how these changes will affect our operations. These are detailed in the regional reports.

  For details of our climate change management approach, policies and guidelines go to .

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Business impact on the climate, and companies' ability to withstand climate change, are issues of increasing global importance, and vital to our stakeholders. In 2018, Gold Fields became the second Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited (JSE)-listed company in South Africa (and the first mining company) to publicly back the United Nations (UN)-endorsed recommendations of the TCFD. The recommendations have been adopted by many national financial regulators.

By following the TCFD, we will be reporting our climate-related performance in a more targeted and practical way than before, linking it to financial risks and opportunities. In 2019, we will release our first TCFD report, which will replace our annual submission in terms of the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report details aspects of governance and climate-related risks, as well as our risk management framework, our strategic approach in adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change, and presents trends in our key climate change-related metrics.

Gold Fields has been disclosing emissions, risks and opportunities for more than 10 years through the CDP. Key energy and carbon emissions data are assured externally. Gold Fields maintained its A- score for its 2018 CDP performance, ranking it among the leaders in the mining sector for both our disclosures and management practices.

Gold Fields Scope 1 – 3 CO2 emissions

Group performance and strategies

The 2018 Group risk register includes the impact of climate change among the top 20 Group risks. Furthermore, the Board's Safety, Health and Sustainable Development (SHSD) Committee reviews the performance of energy and climate change programmes on a quarterly basis. Every five years we review our vulnerability to climate change and develop Group-wide strategies and programmes in response to these.

During 2017 our Ghanaian operations' piloted use of an ICMM climate-data viewer tool, which provides insight into physical changes in precipitation, temperature, wind and water stress levels. These outcomes were used in developing adaptation plans, such as reviewing design flood lines and inclusion of climate change impacts in our project standards. The ICMM tool is in the process of being rolled out to our other operations.

Our carbon emission performance mirrors the energy usage trends at our operations. These are detailed in Group energy performance. Gold Fields' disclosures cover all three carbon emission scopes, Scope 1 - 3, both in absolute figures and intensities. Total Scope 1 - 3 CO2-e emissions during 2018 amounted to 1.85Mt, a significant drop from 1.96Mt in 2017, reflecting the decrease in total energy usage to 11.62TJ in 2018 from 12.18TJ in 2017. Emission intensity was unchanged from the 0.66t CO2-e/oz in 2017, due to a decline in Group gold production. Our aspirational target is to reduce cumulative carbon emissions by 800kt CO2-e between 2017 and 2020. Cumulative carbon emission reductions from 2017 - 2018 totalled 265kt CO2-e.

Our commitment to low-carbon and renewable energy is a significant contributor to our efforts in reducing carbon emissions. All our operations, other than South Deep, are largely powered by LP gas, a low carbon energy source. In Q1 2019, Granny Smith and Agnew announced significant renewable energy projects to be operational later in 2019 or early 2020 . South Deep, Tarkwa and Damang are also investigating developing renewable energy assets in the near future.


      Regional performance      
Americas     KEY RISKS   2018 KEY DEVELOPMENTS  
  • Water shortages during drier months
  • Ability to deliver concentrate for shipping during severe weather events
  In April, Peru released a Climate Change Framework law, seeking collaboration between government and the private sector on the government's commitments to:
  • Reduce emissions by 20% to 30% below business-as-usual by 2030
  • Meet 20% of carbon reduction goals through the energy, industry, transport, resources and waste sectors

The mine is looking at ways in which it can contribute to the achievement of these targets.

As part of Cerro Corona's climate resilience plan, the mine:

  • Commencing the permitting process for withdrawing additional water from the Tingo river in preparation for a low rainfall year
  • Evaluated the key risks of route disruptions as a result of flooding or landslides for transporting ore concentrates to the Salaverry port
  • Constructed an additional storage building for ore concentrate at the Salaverry warehouse.
  • Seek approval for water abstraction in regular Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) updates
  • Ensure that an alternate route to the port is ready for use
  • Dynamic and predictive water balances
  • Increase storage capacity at the port and Cerro Corona


      Regional performance      
Australia     KEY RISKS   2018 KEY DEVELOPMENTS  
Australia region    
  • Adequacy of flood management measures
  • Declining water availability
  • Tailings dam stability
  • Increased cooling costs
  • Legislative changes

Australia’s government is reviewing the safeguard mechanism (SGM) introduced in 2016, which applies to facilities emitting more than 100,000 tonnes CO2-e emissions each year. We expect Gruyere, once operational, to also be governed by the SGM with the baseline determined by its production plan. Penalties are applied for exceeding emission baselines, or domestic carbon offsets must be purchased to make up the difference. Our Agnew and Granny Smith mines have not exceeded their baseline, but St Ives did so in 2017; emission credits from the Granny Smith gas power were used to offset the penalties. The main impact of the SGM review, which is expected to be implemented by mid-2019, will be the transition from historic to calculated baselines, which will better reflect our operations’ current production profiles.

We continue to manage the lack of certainty regarding the government’s climate change policy through efforts to improve energy efficiencies, as well as taking advantage of the government’s carbon abatement initiatives. During 2018, this initiative at Granny Smith generated 21,032 Australian Carbon Credits Units (ACCUs), with a positive balance of 13,450 ACCUs for use against future liabilities or trading in the open market.

  • Flood management plans and critical hazard standards
  • Trialling site-based weather modelling at Gruyere
  • Maintenance of water balances
  • Implemented energy management plans, with a savings target of up to 10%
  • Conversion to renewable energies at Agnew, and the assessment thereof at Granny Smith
  • Dynamic and predictive water balances

West Africa

      Regional performance      
West Africa     KEY RISKS   2018 KEY DEVELOPMENTS  
West Africa region    
  • Increased operational costs linked to road maintenance, replacement of tyres and dewatering
  • Increased volumes of contaminated water requiring treatment
  • Short-term impacts to mining during intense rainfall events

Ghana experienced abnormally heavy rainfalls, which impacted both Tarkwa and Damang, and resulted in production delays, the Tarkwa pits being flooded, and additional diesel usage for dewatering. In response, we modified our pumping, storage and pit dewatering strategies.

In 2018, we implemented recommendations of the climate change risk and vulnerability assessment conducted in 2017, including increasing pumping capacity for pit dewatering, reduced reliance on the national power grid, which is reliant on hydro power, and engaging communities on climate change impacts. We also started a new water treatment facility at Damang, which includes adding chemicals to reduce nitrate levels to approved standards, while improving water treatment costs and effectiveness.

To meet the requirements of the Renewable Energy Act of 2011, proposals for renewable power, amounting to 6MW for Damang and Tarkwa, are currently being investigated.

  • Staggering of pit floors to aid drainage and dewatering
  • Review catchment mapping
  • Implement a control process for maintaining road quality for long haulage routes
  • Dynamic and predictive water balances
  • Provision made for rain delays in operational plan

South Africa

      Regional performance      
South Africa     KEY RISKS   2018 KEY DEVELOPMENTS  
Americas region    
  • Variability in rainfall intensity increasing costs of alternative water sources
  • Temperature increases affect surface cooling plant efficiency and causes heat stress for surface employees
  • Climate change-related regulatory uncertainty

South Deep continues to work with an independent power producer (IPP) to finalise the construction of a 40MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at the mine. In terms of the plan, the IPP will raise funding for the plant in return for a long-term purchase power agreement with South Deep. Funding issues are currently being finalised. The IPP is consulting with the Department of Energy on regulatory clarity around the licensing, technical and other requirements of the plant.

Legislation to levy taxes on companies’ Scope 1 CO2 emissions will come into effect on 1 June 2019. South Deep’s exposure to the tax is minimal as its Scope 1 emissions, largely related to diesel usage, were only 5,504t CO2-eq in 2018. A carbon tax levy of R0.10/l was announced by the Finance Minister in early 2019, which amounts to an exposure of around R197,000 (US$15,000) for South Deep. However, should Eskom be allowed to pass on the cost of the tax on diesel usage to customers, their electricity tariffs could rise significantly.

  • Dynamic and predictive water balances sources
  • Reduce freshwater withdrawals
  • Reduce potential Scope1 and Scope2 and emissions through improved diesel efficiencies and renewable energy