JOHANNESBURG, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Gold Fields Ltd will continue to evaluate and focus on efficiency at its loss-making South African asset, South Deep, after production fell below guidance in 2017, the bullion miner said on Wednesday.
South Deep, which has faced operational challenges in an unforgiving geology 3 km (2 miles) beneath the surface, made a loss of 337.6 million rand in 2017 compared with a profit of 191.1 million rand the previous year.
If the mine’s production targets continue not to be met, the firm will look at alternatives, Chief Executive Nick Holland said during the company’s full-year results presentation.
“If the current model doesn’t deliver results, we will have to look at alternatives. What those alternatives are – we haven’t got a specific list, but clearly it’s not our mantra to sit here and lose money,” Holland said.
South Deep production fell 11 percent below original guidance to 281,000 ounces, versus 290,000 ounces the previous year, after two fatal accidents and three ground collapses resulted in a delay in mining higher-grade areas, the firm said.