Gold Fields spends big on Oz exploration - Engineering News
Gold miner Gold Fields will continue with its massive exploration spend in Australia over the next three to five years.
VP for Australian operations Stuart Mathews on Wednesday said the company would spend between $85-million and $90-million on exploration work during 2015, with spending levels to remain consistent over the next few years.
We have a big exploration push this year and have made a major commitment to brownfield exploration,” he noted.
Of the capital set aside for exploration, Gold Fields would spend $42-million on exploration at the St Ives mine, as well as a further $20-million on exploration at the Agnew site. The miner would also spend some $20-million at the Granny Smith mine this year, and a further $7-million at the Darlot mine.
Mathews told journalists on the sidelines of the Diggers & Dealers conference that Gold Fields remained committed to the Darlot project, despite reports that the company had put the underground mining operation up for sale.
“We are maintaining optionality at Darlot, but we are definitely committed to our full exploration spend,” Mathews said.
He noted that Gold Fields’ exploration would not only focus on the mining operations themselves, but would also be aimed at targets within the company’s wider tenement holdings in Western Australia.
Meanwhile, Mathews noted that the gold miner was also on the hunt for merger and acquisition opportunities.
“We aren’t chasing a one-million- or five-million-ounce target, but want something that can add value to our production profile,” he said, adding that, while producing assets would be considered first-prize, near production assets would also be considered.
The company’s acquisition strategy, however, would focus on opportunities near its existing projects, as Gold Fields looked at regional consolidation of satellite resources.
Meanwhile, Mathews also flagged possible toll-treatment opportunities at the St Ives, Darlot and Granny Smith processing plants, pointing out that Gold Fields was currently only using some 60% of its processing capacity.“Our mills and processing plants are only 60% full, and that is because we are limited by the size of our mines. We are optimising these mines, but we have big mills, so we are trying to fill these mills, which would, in turn, drive down our cost base even further.”
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