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

5.1.3 Enhancing Group mining performance

The role of Group Technical Services

Gold Fields Group Technical Services (GTS) function continued to play a leading role in improving the quality of our operational performance, innovation and technical management across the Group. In 2012, this included:

Hauling ore at Tarkwa, Ghana  
Hauling ore at Tarkwa, Ghana  

Heavy Mining Equipment (HME) Strategy: Initiation of a new, medium-term HME Strategy to support Gold Fields shift towards owner-mining. The strategy is based on analysis and communication of sector best practice across the Group as well as through the development of Group-wide guidance and protocols – including around fleet management systems, enhancement of tyre life, road maintenance, condition monitoring and planned maintenance.

This is with the ultimate aim of optimising HME utilisation and availability – and of establishing internal benchmarking of performance, as well as the transferability of skills and equipment across the Group.

Planning Handbook: Development of a Group-wide Planning Handbook to ensure consistency of approach and to mitigate the potential impacts of personnel turnover.

Mine Reconciliation and Ore Flow Accounting: The project was initiated in late 2011 to analyse and assess mining process performance across the Group – and provide operations with action plans to enhance their performance from the stope to the pouring of gold, including the minimisation of dilution.

The findings from this project are currently being implemented by a dedicated, multidisciplinary team made up of internal and external experts, who have conducted extensive fieldwork at each of our operations. Full implementation of this medium-term project has the potential to positively impact our Group NCE margin.

Sponsorship of the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC): The CEEC, of which our CEO is a patron, is a cross-sector initiative to improve blasting, crushing and grinding techniques to lower operating costs, and carbon emissions. This includes a focus on more efficient separation of waste rock, improved combinations of grinding technologies and the targeting of larger grind sizes where practicable. By establishing comminution baselines at our processing plants and applying CEEC methodologies, Gold Fields is targeting a 5% reduction in power consumption per tonne treated.

Non-Entry Mining: The Non-Entry Mining Project, which was initiated in 2012, is a collaborative, open-innovation research programme, involving our original equipment manufacturers (including Brokk, Sandvik and Atlas Copco), with input from Curtin University, Wits University, the University of Pretoria and the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The project is examining how existing equipment platforms can be adapted with advanced technology and tools to allow for their application in remote mining. As part of this process, Sibanye Gold is piloting three remote control demolition units to clear long-abandoned underground access tunnels at KDC East that were too unsafe to clear using conventional methods. This is with the ultimate aim of extending advanced mining technology to the safe extraction of 28 high-grade pillars at the mine.

Figure 5.5: Operational portfolio review actions

Location Actions
St Ives
Completion of owner-mining
Closure of high-cost heap leach operation
Cessation of work on low-grade Main and Rajah ore bodies
Focus on high-grade Kim ore body
Cessation of the high-cost South Heap Leach operation
Stabilise production to between 200,000 oz and 250,000 oz at a minimum NCE margin of 20%
Exploration of pit cut-back and underground options