JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Gold Fields said its third-quarter gold output rose 3 percent compared with previous quarter, buoyed by a 10 percent surge in production at their South Deep mine.
Gold Fields, which also has operations in Australia, West Africa and South America, saw gold production rising to 567,000 ounces for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
The bullion producers said gold production for the quarter from its South Deep operations rose 10 percent to 81,000 ounces, driven by an increase in reef grade.
However, the miner said full-year production for its South Deep mine would be between 5 percent and 10 percent below the previous guidance of 315,000 ounces, as output has been affected by safety stoppages earlier this year following two fatalities.
Gold Fields’ last South African asset, South Deep, is a mechanised mine which has presented operational challenges in an unforgiving geology 3 kms (2 miles) beneath the surface.
“South Deep will be unable to recover the full extent of the weak March quarter, which was impacted by two fatalities that negatively impacted the mining contribution from the high-grade corridors,” said Gold Fields Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland in a statement.
South Africa’s mining industry has complained for years that government inspectors have been imposing frequent work stoppages over safety, costing billions of rand in lost output while putting mines and jobs on the line.
The group’s gold production will, however, remain unchanged at between 2.10Moz and 2.15Moz as the company’s other regions make up for the shortfall from South Deep, added Holland.
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)