Regional overview: South Africa

3.5.1 Introduction

The South Africa Region is the bedrock on which Gold Fields is built and accounts for 53% of our attributable gold output. Gold Fields holds one of the dominant positions in the geographically unique Witwatersrand Basin, the most prolific gold-producing region in the world. It is home to our developing and fully mechanised South Deep project, as well as the more mature and conventionally operated Beatrix and Kloof-Driefontein Complex (KDC) mines. KDC is South Africa’s largest mine by gold production and enjoys Mineral Reserves of 20.2 million ounces at a grade of 6.5 grams a tonne. The South Deep project, the most significant gold development project in South Africa, is set to be an efficient, safe, low cost and fully mechanised operation, underpinned by a world class ore body. Once complete, South Deep will ensure the Region remains a critical, long-term contributor to Group performance.

All of our mines in South Africa are OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 certified, and are fully compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code. The Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves are compliant with the SAMREC 2007 Code.

Performance in C2010

Gold production in the South Africa Region declined to 1.9 million ounces in C2010 (C2009:
2.1 million ounces). Gold production was steady at Beatrix and consistently higher at South Deep, but this did not offset lower production at KDC. All our mines stabilised their production performances as the year progressed, with the NCE margin (excluding South Deep) improving to 20% in the December 2010 quarter.

The Project Blueprint business re-engineering programme saw the consolidation of the Kloof, Driefontein and the South Africa Region management teams. Overall employee numbers in South Africa continued to decline as a result of natural attrition, voluntary severance and the replacement of non-essential contracting services by internal staff.

Recent progress in safety performance at our South African mines continued in C2010 with fatalities declining from 26 in C2009 to 17 last year. However, much remains to be done to achieve our long-term aim of Zero Harm (p71-73).

Shareholders approved the terms of our three empowerment transactions, which include a landmark employee share option plan. Our new order mining right for South Deep was granted and ensured that we achieved our 2014 equity ownership targets set out in the Mining Charter.

Outlook for 2011

The key target is to stabilise safe production at an NCE margin of 20% in the short-term (excluding South Deep) and to move towards our planned contribution of at least 2 to 2.3 million ounces to the Group Goal of 5 million attributable ounces in production or development by 2015. Specific planned actions include:

  • A further reduction in fatalities and improved health and safety indicators on C2010
  • Achievement of production stability at the KDC and Beatrix mines
  • Continued development and production ramp-up at South Deep
  • Advancement of the ‘24 Hours in the Life of a Gold Fields Employee’ wellbeing programme (p154)
  • Increased mining flexibility through mechanised ore reserve development at the long life shafts at KDC and Beatrix
  • Further reduce power consumption across the operations to offset increasing power tariffs
  • Increased representation of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans at middle and senior management levels

Water quality and availability are increasingly important issues in South Africa. The map (right), prepared by Maplecroft, highlights varying sub-national levels of water stress in different regions of the country.