Gold Fields meets production, cost guidance target: Generates US$900m in 2022
Global mining giant, Gold Fields, met its production and cost guidance target, propelling it to generate almost US$900m in cash in 2022.
The development enabled the company to fund growth activities, one in Canada, pay record dividends to shareholders and reduce net debt to the company’s lowest level in over a decade.
It also helped the company in its quest to be one of the top performers among its peers since early last year resulting in a share price increase by 67 per cent on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and by 48 per cent on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since the start of the year.
The Chairperson of the Gold Fields Board of Directors, Yunus Suleman, announced this at the company’s annual general meeting monitored online by the Graphic Business.
The year under review was the year in which the company started implementing its three-pillar strategy that was approved by the board.
“While this in part reflects the stronger gold price it also mirrors investors’ confidence in our near-term growth options as well as our ability to consistently meet production and cost guidance and as such translating this gold price to the bottom-line,” he said.
The people impact
With regard to the company’s people, he said management has initiated a number of programmes to strengthen the culture, which was identified as a key enabler for the implementation of the company’s strategy by unlocking the full potential of all its people.
“The board actively supports building a culture of care, respect and inclusivity among our increasingly diverse workforce. Above all, this means keeping our people both physically and psychologically safe. As such, Gold Fields expanded its definition of zero harm to embed a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and discrimination. The Board commissioned an independent review enabling employees to share their experiences and we will use their feedback to work with management to address shortcomings and capitalise on opportunities for improvement,” he said.
Attention on ESG
Building on the company’s leading commitments to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is the second pillar of the company’s strategy.
Mr Suleman said Gold Fields committed in December 2021 to a range of 2030 full operational capacity targets for its six sustainability priorities – “three of them focused on our people and stakeholders and the other three dealing with our environmental impact.
We started implementing these targets in 2022 and are on track to meet them by 2030 – as you would have seen in the ESG webcast Gold Fields presented earlier this month. Highlights included the launch of two new solar plants at South Deep and Gruyere and the US$913m in value created for our host communities.”
Mr Suleman also said most community value creation is a programme the firm is particularly proud of because host communities are one of its closest and most important stakeholders.
Ghana operations, other JVs
Mr Suleman made reference to the proposed joint venture (JV) between Tarkwa mine in Ghana and the neighbouring Iduapriem mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti, with Gold Fields being the managing operator.
“If supported by the Ghanaian government, it will create Africa's largest gold mine, with almost immediate production and financial benefits,” he said.
Gold Fields, earlier this month, also announced the joint venture with Osisko Mining to develop the world-class underground Windfall project in Quebec, Canada.
This deal not only provides the company with long-term, quality growth but also an entry into Canada, a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction which the company has long sought access to.
Gold Fields has already transferred the C$300m required as part of the signature payment with the remaining C$300m payable on receipt of all the required regulatory approvals.
Mr Suleman said both of those transactions were welcomed by shareholders and investors as an affirmation of its growth strategy, adding that “Our strong operational performance and execution of these key strategic transactions are testament to the strength of the management and operational teams that we have in place.”
The Chairperson of the Social, Ethics and Transformation (SET) Committee of the Board, Jacqueline McGil, for her part, said “Over the past year, Gold Fields conducted several workplace surveys, including one by world-renowned expert Elizabeth Broderick, to understand how our people experience our workplaces, how we can address issues that are potentially causing harm and how, ultimately, we can ensure safe and respectful workplaces.”
She said once received, the findings of those comprehensive reviews would be assessed by the board and management, with improvement actions to be planned and implementation commencing in the second half of this year.
“I should add that there is already some great work underway throughout the business, and I particularly commend the Australian region on the work it has done in creating its Respectful Workplaces #listenprogram and leadership materials. This is already fostering some important conversations in the business about what a respectful workplace looks like for all of our people.”
Ms McGill said Gold Fields also seeks to collaborate with its employees to create and nurture a culture that attracts and retains a diverse, highly skilled and talented workforce.
She said while the company has made progress in improving the proportion of women in its workforce – it has risen from approximately 15 per cent six years ago to 23 per cent at the end of last year.
“We still have work to do to attract and retain female talent. A focused retention and recruitment programme is in place to ensure that we achieve our target of 30 per cent female representation by 2030,” she added.