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  Arrow St Ives Gold Mine
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Arrow Exploration and Business Development
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F2009 Achievements

  • Projects delivered at St Ives.
  • Ramp up of Waroonga production at Agnew successful.
  • Exploration success delivers one million ounces of reserve at St Ives.

Glenn Baldwin
Executive Vice President: Head of Australasia Region

The safety performance of the Australian operations improved significantly, with a reduction in the serious injury frequency rate by 32 per cent, and the operations remained fatal accident free, again.

Various safety initiatives driven during the year included a standardised approach to safety reporting, focus on hazard identification and immediate remediation, and changing the approach to incident investigation. Through the actions of improved communication with employees, perception audits, cultural safety change training and the development of personal values, the safety philosophy of “if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine” was embedded into the organisation. The operations continue to seek the position as the safety benchmark operation in the global gold mining industry.

Our responsibility toward the environment is equally believed, including achievement of substantial Cyanide Code compliance at both operations during the year. Furthermore, energy efficiency projects were designed and implemented, and started to drive the operations to best practice over the next three years.

Stakeholder engagement remains a key focus, specifically with the operational imperative of maintaining our licence to operate. While the work with members of our various immediate communities to protect areas of archeological and ethnic significance remains a strategic imperative, the operations form part of the Australian employment collective and therefore recruit across the country. One example of contributing away from our immediate mine boundary, but where some of our employees were affected, was at the time of the bushfires in the state of Victoria at the beginning of 2009: the fires caused havoc and many vehicles were destroyed by the blaze. Agnew donated vehicles to assist with the clean-up and rebuilding of the region.

The growth of Gold Fields internationally has led to the introduction of human resources best practices across the regions, especially in Australasia. The diversity of skills required in the Australian mines is large because of the different styles of mining (both open pit and underground) plus the various roster systems (fly-in/fly-out and residential). I believe we have risen to the challenge and we now have in place highly proficient teams at each operation as well as much stronger technical and administrative capacity centrally in Perth.

At St Ives, F2009 gold production was higher at nearly 430,000 ounces, mainly as a result of the Belleisle and Cave Rocks underground mines and the Leviathan open pit mine achieving full production. In addition, the mine implemented the underground development improvement project which focused on productivity and cost optimisation initiatives. During August 2009, the royalty payable by Gold Fields’ wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, St Ives Gold Mining Company (Pty) Limited, was terminated for a consideration of A$308 million. This transaction positively transforms the cost profile of St Ives, placing it firmly within the bottom half of the Australian gold cost curve, allowing this operation to benefit fully from the higher gold price.

While Agnew remains a stable producer, gold production decreased to 192,000 ounces in F2009 due to the closure of the Songvang pit and completion of stockpile processing. Demands on both capital and operating costs have been high, but the various programmes that were implemented successfully increased productivity and reduced costs. The mine was positioned in the first quartile of the Australian gold producers NCE cost curve, at year end.

The Australasia Region is gearing up for its next phase of development. The key focus areas at the existing mines are the St Ives Athena Project, which is planned to be the fourth underground mine. The Athena complex has in excess of 1.5 million ounces of gold in inventory and the first significant ore reserve will be declared in September 2009. At Agnew, the life of mine optimisation project will convert resource to reserve in the Waroonga complex and the completion of infrastructure projects is designed to mitigate productivity losses at depth. Strategically, we are well positioned to grow Gold Fields’ production in Australasia with an aggressive and geographically diversified greenfields exploration portfolio, including projects in the Philippines.

Our strategy is to contribute to the Gold Fields vision by realising maximum value from our existing mines and growing to a one million ounce producer by 2014. This goal must be achieved by living the value system, specifically on the platform of no harm to any one employee, stakeholder or the environment.

Glenn Baldwin