Gold Fields celebrates 125 years as a leading global gold miner

In 1897, in a small mining town in South Africa, Cecil Rhodes and Charles Rudd formed the company that would later become Gold Fields. This mining town would later become Johannesburg, the city that today hosts our Corporate Office and primary stock-market listing. The history of Gold Fields is very much linked to that of South Africa.

Nonetheless, Gold Fields has grown into a truly international organisation that operates across the globe – with mining and exploration interests that reach from the Tropics to the Arctic Circle – and from 4km below the earth to 4km above sea level. Even this global presence, however, has its roots in our history. Indeed, by the 1920s, Gold Fields already had exploration projects across 26 countries.

  • 1898: Gold Fields of South Africa is rated as the most valuable company in the world – after being founded by Rhodes and Rudd the previous year
  • 1952: West Driefontein (now KDC) starts production – by 1967 it is producing more gold than all the gold mines in the United States put together, and by 1979 it is the largest gold producer ever. To date, it remains the only mine to have produced more than 100 million ounces of gold
  • 1981: The Gold Fields Foundation is launched in South Africa. Gold Fields continues to invest in a range of sustainable development initiatives through the Foundation
  • 1998: Gold Fields Limited is formed when the gold assets of the mining company Gencor are combined with those of Gold Fields of South Africa
  • 2001: Gold Fields acquires the Agnew and St Ives mines in Australia, as well as the Damang mine in Ghana
  • 2006: Gold Fields announces the R21 billion acquisition of the South Deep mine – containing the world’s largest unexploited gold deposit
  • 2011: For the first time in the Company’s history, the majority of Gold Fields production (51%) comes from outside South Africa
  • 2012: Gold Fields experiences one its most challenging years – including widespread and illegal strikes that affected much of the South African mining sector

In 2012 – and as part of a high-profile Portfolio Review – Gold Fields announced the landmark restructuring of its assets. This focused on the unbundling of Sibanye Gold – a separately listed entity that will hold the mature, deep-underground KDC and Beatrix mines.

The unbundling will enable Gold Fields to focus on maximising cash flow and returns from its remaining operations, and to realise the value of its world-class portfolio of exploration and growth projects. At the same time, Gold Fields will prioritise the development of its fully mechanised South Deep underground mine in South Africa. This strategically important asset – which holds more than one-third of Gold Fields gold reserves and has a mine life of at least 60 years – secures the Company’s long-term future in the country in which it was founded 125 years ago.