Two South African stalwart gold miners have in a relatively short time reduced their exposure to the country to little more than 10% of group production as they look — and invest — abroad for cheap ounces that will make profits through the price cycle. AngloGold Ashanti, once the colossus of the South African gold mining industry, and Gold Fields have both sold and closed mines and in a relatively short time became owners of just one underground mine each and in the case of AngloGold a tailings retreatment operation. For Gold Fields the strategy was clear, says CEO Nick Holland. It was to find cheap, good-quality ounces in mechanised mines, either with smart acquisitions at a good price that gave the company long-term potential or through a focused exploration programme to add those sought-after ounces on or around the tenements in Australia, Ghana and Peru. There are not many of those opportunities in the South African gold industry, which is shrinking annually. Gold Fields is pour...

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