THIS IS GOLD FIELDS Risk management and materiality

Risk management and materiality

Gold Fields uses a set of four well-defined processes to assess its risks, opportunities and material issues:

Key risks and mitigating actions are identified and assessed using an Enterprise-wide Risk Management (ERM) process.

The Group takes into account the views and concerns of a wide range of stakeholders

As part of the integrated reporting process, the Group conducts comprehensive interviews with key management and external stakeholders

Material sustainability issues are assessed and prioritised according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards

The outputs from these four processes have informed the identification of the risks, opportunities and material issues listed on this page.

Risk management

Our Enterprise risk management process is mature and aligned with the ISO 31000 international risk management standard, as well as the risk management requirements of South Africa’s King IV governance code.

The Group risk heat maps can be viewed on our latest Integrated Report 2020:


The Group’s top 20 risks as well as top five risks per region, as identified through the ERM process.


Materiality assessment

Gold Fields has carried out a formal process to assess and prioritise its material sustainability issues. It has done so using criteria aligned with those set out in the GRI Standards Guidelines taking into account the actual or potential impact of these issues on Gold Fields and its stakeholders

The process is based on a series of iterative assessments using a common, quantitative scoring framework. It draws on a range of internal and external sources, as well as detailed engagement with senior executives at the Company and representatives of external stakeholders – including industry, government, community and environmental organisations. These stakeholders were briefed on the GRI process and asked to evaluate all GRI Standards in terms of importance to Gold Fields and its stakeholders.

The outcome – depicted in the Integrated Annual Report – ranks health and safety, water management, environmental and compliance issues as the key GRI aspects that internal and external stakeholders consider most material to Gold Fields and its wider stakeholder base.

Risk appetite

Our appetite for risk is reflected in our company strategy, DNA, goals and targets.

Risk appetite is defined as the amount of risk we are willing to take in pursuit of our strategic objectives and the amount of risk we are capable of taking considering our financial and operational capabilities.

Our risk management motto of “making it less risky to take risk” implies that we have precise and effective risk mitigating strategies to continually reduce risk to an acceptable level. We believe we are inherently more risk averse than many of our peers.

Risk appetite is set in each of our major risk areas of our group goals and targets, such as safety and health, production, growth and productivity, environment, human resources as well as our legal and social licences to operate.

Risk appetite is reviewed by management and adjusted annually as part of our risk management plan. It is then reviewed and approved by the Risk Committee. Management’s mandate is to take risks within these levels.

Insurance and operational risk management

The risk and insurance functions in Gold Fields are integrated. The IMIU (International Mining Industry Underwriters) Risk Engineering programme has proved to be very successful over the years, yielding excellent results in terms of improving the insurability ratings, insurance premiums and ultimately preventing catastrophic losses and insurance claims.

The outcome of this effort is a 18-year claims free history on our property insurance policy.

All our operations are now regarded as “attractive to insurers” and placed in the “green or low risk” zone of the IMIU insurability index as indicated on the IMIU Insurability Rating graph below and orange graphs under mines.

The left axis - %RR represents the extent to which operations are:

  • Implementing global leading practices and
  • Responding to the recommendations made by insurers.

The %RR measures the mine’s flexibility, spare capacity and contingent readiness in terms of fixed infrastructure, machinery and equipment.
The bottom axis – REN is the ratio between the mines insured values and Maximum Foreseeable Loss. The lower the REN the less risky the mine is from an insurability perspective.

In terms of the Increasing Rank of Excellence graphs (blue graphs under mines) all Gold Fields operations are ranked in the top quartile of mines audited by IMIU.