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Gold Fields' closes St Ives underground mine after 5 years - ABC

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Athena underground mine has become the latest casualty of the resources downturn, with owner Gold Fields confirming it will close by the end of the year.

The Johannesburg-based miner said Athena, part of its St Ives operations near Kambalda, in the Western Australia Goldfields region, had run out of economic ore after five years of production.

Responding to questions from the ABC, the company said it would aim to keep potential redundancies to a minimum.

"We have been open with both our employees and the union about our plans for Athena," the company said.

"In addition to ongoing notification about the closure date, a redeployment program will be implemented to absorb as many of the Athena crew members as possible into other St Ives areas and other Gold Fields Australia operations.

"It is anticipated that any redundancies, if required, will be minimal."

Miner remains confident despite tough run

Athena is the third mine at St Ives closed by Gold Fields in the past two years, with mining at Cave Rocks suspended earlier this year, and the Argo underground mine closed in 2014.

While the gold miner has spent $65 million on exploration, with a further $37 million spend on the cards for next year, it said the spread out nature of the St Ives resource meant more viable ore bodies had to be prioritised.

"This is particularly relevant at St Ives where extraction occurs from numerous ore bodies as opposed to one large deposit," the company said.

"This reflects the nature of our business, in that Gold Fields develops new mines and closes mines depending on commodity prices and availability of ore."

The announcement is the latest in a string of closures and cutbacks to hit mines around Kambalda, with the town shedding more than 100 jobs over the past 18 months.

Residents of the town told ABC Goldfields last month they remained confident of a rebound in the town's core nickel industry, despite the continuing uncertainty.

 



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