Gold Fields (GFI) is a leading international gold mining company with attributable, annualised production of >2 million ounces (Moz) of gold and >60 million pounds (Mlb) of copper from a portfolio of eight operating assets and a number of exploration projects, grouped into four regions.
The quality of the Group’s Mineral Resources and Reserves is fundamental to delivering mines and projects as core franchise assets. Maintaining a robust Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve base provides a solid platform for not just life-of-mine (LoM) planning, but also for the strategic and business planning that takes place as part of the embedded annual planning cycle in Gold Fields. The intent of the strategic planning process is to provide a mechanism for operating sites to assess planning options at varying levels of technical, operational and financial risk, with reference to the company’s strategic goals. Strategic key performance indicators for each asset are pivotal around quality, life, licence to operate, cash generation and scale, based on either annual metal produced or cash-flow. Our strategic planning endeavours to provide insight to a range of outcomes rather than refine and optimise a single option.
Optionality is assessed against strategic scenarios that profile (1) low metal price (2) sustaining the business (3) upside potential and (4) blue sky opportunity and they provide essential guidance for operating strategies, required investment and risk and reward management. By necessity, the Strategic Plans include an assessment of factored Inferred Mineral Resources and a view on property endowment potential for the blue sky, in addition to the Proved and Probable Mineral Reserves that define the LoM plan.
Each year, the Business Plan represents a refinement of the preferred Strategic Plan option and the process allows each site to develop a 12-month Operational Plan within the context of the long-term potential of the asset and allows the business to deploy essential resources to maximise the use of capital across the Group portfolio. The Business Plan includes factored Inferred Mineral Resources that provide essential information on the realistic Mineral Resource to Mineral Reserve conversion in the medium to long term.
The South African Code for the Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (the 2016 SAMREC Code) compliant Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve defining the LoM plan and cash-flow model for each asset, is restricted to Proved and Probable Reserves. Importantly there is a strong linkage to the Strategic and Business Plans that profile the Company’s longer-term approach to realising full site potential.
LINKING STRATEGIC, BUSINESS AND LoM PLANNING
GFI planning cycle to strategically position group for cash
THE ORE BODY DICTATES
This Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve statement profiles the fundamental asset base in Gold Fields. The information that supports the statement is derived through adherence to the Mineral Resource Management (MRM) life-cycle and the defined annual planning process. The MRM life-cycle incorporates a series of stages with increased confidence and a level of risk mitigation associated with each stage. The level of risk is typically a function of the quantity and quality of the information available. The objective is to be able to quantify and profile the risk at each stage and mitigate to acceptable levels aligned to scoping, pre-feasibility or feasibility level reporting and SAMREC classification. The schematic above illustrates each of the stages with an indicative work schedule and appropriate level of work needed to advance to the next stage, with a pre-feasibility study (PFS) level being a minimum requirement for reporting Mineral Reserves.
Multi-year investment in brownfield exploration, resource extension and resource conversion campaigns is in place across the portfolio to deliver and grow ore bodies that have the geometry and inherent grade and tonnage profiles to underpin targeted all-in sustaining costs (AISC)/oz costs and free cash-flow margins. A major focus is placed on the provision of good, clean data and relevant information for each ore body to generate a high-quality platform for the critical interpretation and geological modelling phases of the resource evaluation. 2017 will see a ramp-up in reinvestment to underpin exploration discovery and maintain a pipeline of robust ore bodies and mining fronts into the future, which are essential to sustaining and increasing cash-flow. The ore body dictates mining method, mine design, production scheduling, grade control, risk-return plus overall commerciality. Consequently, this investment will show returns over the years ahead through the replacement of production depletion, organic growth, increased flexibility and life extension.
Gold Fields’ investment in operating mines, projects and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has retained a strongly positive outlook and has been integral to maintaining a steady year-on-year Group Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve position, despite the numerous challenges affecting the mining industry including volatile gold prices, cost pressures and geo-political turmoil.
A Group-wide Technology and Innovation (T&I) strategy supported by a five-year implementation plan has been launched, aimed at positively impacting health and safety, social licence to operate and cash margin and will focus on growing Mineral Reserves and the life of the assets. This will be achieved through reducing discovery costs, improving cycle time from discovery to development handover and driving operating efficiency and productivity. It is hoped that future T&I initiatives will assist in protecting the ore bodies through cut-off grade management, which is integral to leveraging resource to reserve conversion.
The key elements driving the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve strategy are centred on sustaining and growing cash-flow, profitability and return on investment. Strategic priorities include:
- Intensify investment in brownfields exploration to drive discovery and to ensure ongoing Mineral Reserve replacement and growth
- Building a quality portfolio of productive mines through active portfolio management
- Emphasis on capital allocation to open up the ore bodies timeously with supporting infrastructure to deliver the plan and secure flexibility
- Focus on quality, cash-accretive ounces while minimising marginal mining and avoiding high grading
- Application of appropriate T&I to improve operating efficiencies, reduce costs and realise the full potential of the ore body
- Ensuring a strong social licence to operate underpin, with emphasis on LoM water and power security and Shared Value creation
- Divest mines or growth projects that are not closely aligned with the Company’s business objectives
For reporting Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, the Gold Fields overarching principle is to ensure integrity, transparency, materiality and competency in reporting, compliance with public regulatory codes and internal standards, and to inform all stakeholders on the status of the Group’s fundamental asset base.
The information in this report is presented on a Group and regional basis, summarising the changes and current status of each operation and exploration project. This report should be read in conjunction with the Integrated Annual Report (IAR), which provides additional information regarding the operations and their financial performance.
- All Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve figures reported are 100% managed by Gold Fields unless otherwise stated
- The Gruyere joint venture (JV) project is reported as 50% of the ‘managed joint venture’. Gruyere is under first time reporting for Gold Fields as part of the Gruyere Project Joint Venture with Gold Road Resources. The JORC compliant Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves are reported as at the time of the JV deal and match the figures in the November 2016 Gold Road Resources’ ASX Announcement
- Mineral Resources are reported inclusive of Mineral Reserves (December 2015 statement numbers are shown in brackets) and Mineral Resources include stability pillars when appropriate
- The Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves are estimated at a point in time and will be affected by changes in the gold price, US dollar currency exchange rates, permitting, legislation, costs and operating parameters
- Rounding-off of figures in this report may result in minor computational discrepancies. Where this occurs, it is not deemed significant
- All references to tonnes (t) are metric units
- The 31 December 2016 Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve figures are net of 2016 production depletion
- Locations on maps are indicative only
- All metals (gold, platinum, palladium, silver, copper and nickel) are reported individually and not as metal equivalents unless alternatively specified