Creating enduring value beyond mining

Top five risks per region in 2021


1 COVID-19
The impact of Covid-19 on our employees and host communities
In Peru and Chile, management implemented comprehensive Covid-19 mitigation and education programmes in line with strict adherence to government protocols. In both countries, vaccine rollout has been robust and all our employees and contractors have been fully vaccinated. Other robust control measures have also been fully implemented. Community and government support programmes were developed.
Life-of-mine extension at Cerro Corona
The accelerated mining and stockpiling to facilitate early in-pit tailings is on plan and is being complemented by low-grade stocks to reduce the risk of ore availability. Further work is being carried out on the feasibility study for the 2030 life-of-mine extension, with ongoing support from the Corporate Technical Services team.
Delays to the construction of the project and 2023 mining schedule
The team at Salares Norte implemented robust project control systems, with weekly and monthly monitoring of performance against project schedule. To date, the project is performing well and we do not currently envisage any delays to the construction process and expect project completion by Q1 2023. Government-related Covid-19 restrictions, rules and laws are strictly adhered to, and the vaccination programme has been fully implemented. The team also maintains close working relationships with authorities, environmentalists and local communities on the chinchilla relocation project to ensure that the safe relocation of the animals happens in time so as not to impact the medium to long-term mining schedule.
Gold and copper prices and exchange rate volatility
There is a robust and mature monthly and quarterly business performance monitoring process in place and, where required, adjustments are made to ensure that the mine remains profitable amid varying market conditions. All mines have business improvement structures and processes in place. For 2021, we put copper hedges in place to provide guaranteed cash-flow.
Local social pressures, conflicts and increased community expectations due to national elections
The South American teams are proactive in building community and stakeholder relationships through meaningful engagement. There is a stringent follow-up and feedback process in place to ensure integrity on all community commitments. Government authorities, both at national and regional level, are involved in community projects where feasible.


Turnover of key personnel and the impact thereof on operational performance
Salary benchmarking was completed to ensure that relevant increases in 2022 are market related. A retention scheme has been designed and implemented for 2022 and 2023, while a site-based allowance was awarded. Employee development programmes have been reviewed and improved, more regular pay-benchmarking undertaken and retention strategies for core skills strengthened. Flexible working arrangements were introduced to facilitate greater work-life balance. Talent discussions are held quarterly at leadership level, with adjustments to critical roles. We have also increased the number of graduates recruited across all disciplines to ensure succession coverage.
Mineral Reserve life at our Australian mines
There are significant near-mine exploration programmes in place at all our mines, with the necessary staff and budget to delineate further Mineral Reserves. We are also investigating the potential acquisition of new ground or targets. We continue to optimise the efficiency of our exploration process to ensure spending remains commensurate with a minimum of a eight to 10-year life-of-mine.
The Western Australian mining boom has resulted in competition for resources and services and rising costs
A key control is maintaining a focus on our business improvement processes and equipping employees with the necessary skills to continuously identify and implement optimisation programmes. Our controls also extend to maintaining a focus on our key contracts and relationships with business partners, as well as maintaining a review of key commodity costs.
4 COVID-19
The impact of Covid-19 on our employees and business continuity
In the Australia region, crisis management protocols were successfully initiated, resulting in zero Covid-19 cases in the region. All sites have infectious disease managers appointed to ensure existing protocols are maintained. We also mandated vaccinations for all our offices and sites in accordance with the Public Health Order and, at the end of 2021, 100% of our employees on site were double-dose vaccinated. The roll-out of booster doses has commenced.
Adherence to our approved operational plans
Controls on operational performance include a structured weekly meeting for all sites, followed by monthly and quarterly reviews with the Exco. We also initiated business process reviews to understand where our adherence to operational plans can be enhanced and risks of deviation mitigated. Our focus also remains on business improvement programmes to realise efficiencies and to reduce costs.


South Africa
1 SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELLBEING (INCLUDING COVID-19) South Deep implemented a leading practice Covid-19 programme, aligned to, among others, WHO recommendations as well as government directives and protocols. On the safety front, the mine rolled out a number of safety performance initiatives linked to the Courageous Safety Leadership programme. These campaigns seek to ensure that employees understand the role they play in preventing Material Unwanted Events and ultimately eliminating serious injuries and fatalities.
The impact of rising costs on operations and margins
Business and cost performance is managed through our daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly management reviews and issues are timeously remediated. A continuous drive to identify opportunities for improving efficiencies, eliminating wastage and drive productivity to improve unit costs is a key strategic focus. The Mine of the Future intervention ensures that we apply a longer-term strategic focus. Opportunities are also being explored to optimise renewable energy solutions and drive energy efficiencies.
Heightened community expectations on mine
Engagement with regulators to ensure the new Mining Charter Social and Labour Plan (2023 to 2028) is more locally focused to support key social needs in our host communities. This includes building local institutional capacity, including among community-based organisations, to ensure delivery of services and assisting with capacity building within host communities. We also focus on increasing our engagement and visibility in our host communities.
Achievement of the business plan and production ramp-up
South Deep has seen sustained improvement in operational and financial performance and generated positive cash-flows for three consecutive years, and will continue to drive disciplined execution of the mine's business plan across the full value chain. The introduction of an updated operating model will focus on levels of work, building process capability and ensuring process stability.
Irregular water and electricity supply by state utilities
Construction of the 50MW solar plant has commenced and will be completed during Q3 2022. Mine emergency generation capacity was extended to withstand protracted electricity load curtailment by Eskom. We are developing pathways to achieve 2030 decarbonisation targets. The use of Rand Water reduced significantly through the commissioning of internal water treatment facilities, and additional underground water sources are being tested to potentially supplement the mine's consumption.


West Africa
1 COVID-19
The impact of Covid-19 on our employees and host communities
The Ghana region implemented detailed awareness campaigns, as well as social distancing and work-from-home protocols, and adhered to government restrictions on movement, including local and international travel. The vaccination programmes are being rolled out, but have been determined by the availability of state-issued vaccines. We are also contributing to national Covid-19 initiatives.
Fiscal and government policy changes
Our primary focus is to adhere to the principles and conditions in the Development Agreement (DA) with the Ghana government, with ongoing legal input and strategies when needed. We frequently engage with the relevant government departments on a number of issues, including raising awareness of the contribution mining makes to the country. There is also a continuous engagement process through the Chamber of Mines.
Challenges with local mining contractors in Ghana
We work closely with the two Ghanaian mining contractors at Tarkwa and Damang to ensure they meet their contractual obligations to the mines while, at the same time, making sure they remain financially sound. This has required renegotiations of their contracts and bringing in OEMs to provide technical assistance for fleet maintenance, as well as financial support to provide debt relief and to procure additional fleet.
Execution of the Damang Reinvestment project
All capital on the Damang Reinvestment project has been recouped. The Damang team ensures ongoing monitoring of grade, volume and cost milestones, as well as strategic management of contractors. The pit-wall has been de-risked through continuous implementation of geotechnical recommendations. Longer-term life extension project studies beyond 2025 have commenced.
Mineral Reserve depletion at Tarkwa and Damang, along with inadequate organic growth of the Asanko JV
A step-out exploration programme is in place to test for potential life extension at Tarkwa and Damang. The Asanko JV life-of-mine plan is being finalised, which includes recommendations on the future strategy of Gold Fields' investment in the Asanko JV.