Integrated Annual Review 2012 Annual Financial Report 2012 Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Regional overview  

6.1.2 Growth and International Projects

Our Growth and International Projects portfolio covers five continents and is coordinated and supported from our main offices in Perth, Australia and in Denver, United States. These are supported by a network of local offices, from Santiago, Chile to Baguio in the Philippines.

Our Growth and International Projects function consists of three teams, with deliberately overlapping responsibilities to ensure the smooth and effective transition of growth opportunities through the development lifecycle:

  • Greenfields Exploration team: Responsible for the identification, assessment and development of opportunities – including potential joint-ventures and acquisitions
  • Concept and Studies team: Conducts conceptual modelling to establish the strategic ‘fit’ of discoveries and implements scoping studies to take projects through to prefeasibility
  • International Projects team: Responsible for ‘physical’ development, including pre-feasibility through to construction

Exploration strategy

Over the past two decades, the global gold mining sector has seen a tangible decline in high-quality discoveries – despite a substantial increase in collective exploration expenditure. Furthermore, existing high-quality ore bodies in traditional, lower-risk mining jurisdictions have been maturing – with extraction becoming more and more expensive. Likewise, high gold prices have meant that junior companies have been better able to raise money and compete for a shrinking number of advanced exploration projects. As a result, such projects at best tend to be fully valued, or at worst, overvalued.

It is this dynamic that sits behind our ongoing focus on creating our own high-quality opportunities through internally driven, aggressive greenfields exploration – including the pursuit of initial drilling projects, right through to construction and operation. It is also the rationale for our ongoing investment in the development of our in-house exploration team, which has already demonstrated both its technical excellence in area selection (to improve the likelihood of success and reduce project development timelines) and its ability to grow our Mineral Reserves on a per-share basis.

Group growth dynamics

In South Africa, Gold Fields new mechanised South Deep mine will produce an increased gold output at a relatively high margin.

Outside South Africa, growth will be built on the following three pillars:

  • Development of low risk, high return near-mine growth opportunities to replace, bring forward and extend Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves at our existing operations in Australia, Ghana and Peru (p108)
  • Effective, well-resourced greenfields exploration in our established Australasia, South America and West Africa regions – and in highly prospective, under-explored locations in Canada, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and elsewhere (p110)
  • Advancement – and ultimate execution – of our major advanced stage projects, where they can demonstrate superior returns (p112)


We review and rank the most prospective areas in the world on an ongoing basis – having assessed the strategic suitability of targets, as well as a wide range of country risks.

We are assisted in this process by two key systems:

Global Business Area Rating (GBAR)

This proprietary system provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of the ‘prospectivity’ (e.g. geology, exploration maturity, etc.) and ‘mineability’ (e.g. political risks, regulatory environment, etc.) of prospective growth opportunities – using both internal and external data.

Acquisition and Competitor Intelligence System (ACIS)

This network-based system uses proprietary software to analyse and process extensive geophysical, project, mine and Geographical Information System databases – as well as internally derived intelligence – to guide our acquisition activities and interactions with other operators.

Quality control and assurance

We maintain rigorous quality control and assurance protocols on all of our exploration programmes. These use industry best practice in data acquisition, laboratory verification and sign-off by qualified persons under the 2007 edition of the SAMREC Code. This approach is already creating value for our shareholders by driving production and Mineral Reserve growth on a per-share basis – and will continue to play a key role in the identification and development of cashgenerating growth opportunities.

The considerable investment required to bring opportunities from discovery through to production takes place through our Gold Fields Project Management System. This provides a clear structure and process for the management of capital investment in projects, including the definition of roles and responsibilities, reporting and accountability.

View from Salares Norte, Chile
View from Salares Norte, Chile