Gold companies globally are being challenged by increasing costs, dropping grades and remote ore bodies. One way of addressing these challenges is through modernisation, which can deliver a safer working environment, improve efficiencies and production, reduce costs and limit their environmental impact. Ultimately, the ideal end state is a decarbonised, zero-emission sustainable mine that embraces innovative technology and provides a safe working environment for all.
At Gold Fields, we continued to embed technology and innovation as part of the three key strategic pillars adopted by the Group during 2021. Specifically, our first strategic pillar seeks to “maximise the potential from our current mines through people and innovation”. Based on this, we will conduct a full business analysis across the Company in 2022 to determine the appropriateness of our innovation and modernisation programmes, as they relate to asset optimisation and business improvement frameworks.
Gold Fields’ modernisation plan stretches across three horizons:
We made significant progress on Horizon 1 projects and programmes, and some operations have already transitioned to Horizon 2. Many of the projects have significant safety and health benefits for our workforce, including collision avoidance and awareness in vehicles, tele-remote operations, and trialling underground zero-emission vehicles. Details of these initiatives can be found in .
A key focus of Horizon 1 was to install advancements in digital infrastructure and ICT technology at our mines as the backbone for running technology for other modernisation programmes. Some of these programmes undertaken in
Horizon 2 deployments largely focused on establishing state-ofthe- art control facilities to oversee mining processes. So far, three mines made progress on this:
There are a number of other technology initiatives underway, including the rollout of renewable energy grids at most of our operations as part of our decarbonisation journey to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2030. As part of this, we partnered with leading independent power producers (IPPs) – many of whom have provided latest renewable technologies in powering our mines. See for details.
In working with our peers in the ICMM, we also developed a cleaner, safer vehicles roadmap for underground and open-pit operations, each with contextspecific projects within the three horizons. The introduction of zero-emission vehicles will mean step changes for the safety and health of our workforce and the environmental impacts of our operations (. )
Modernisation extends beyond technology, however. Perhaps, most importantly, it will mean introducing a diversity of new skills, specialists and technical role to our Company, reskilling and upskilling people to adapt in an agile environment and improving performance management systems. Central to our people-focused modernisation plan is the development of a culture of diversity and agility to ready us for the new world of work.