Gold Fields’ struggle with its South Deep mine in SA continued in the third quarter of 2018, forcing another downward revision of the operation’s full-year target. Gold Fields, which has mines in Australia, Ghana and Peru, has invested R32bn in South Deep and has struggled to make it a sustainably profitable operation since taking ownership in 2006. The latest news in Gold Fields’ September quarterly production update made for grim reading as South Deep’s production target for the year was lowered to 154,600oz, basically half of what management had expected at the start of the year when it guided the market to 321,000oz. South Deep produced 49,500oz of gold for the September quarter, little changed from the June quarter, while all-in costs, which include development capital, shot up to R804,998/kg from R755,930/kg, making the mine deeply unprofitable. The reason for the blowout in costs was because of the lower number of ounces sold, higher operating costs and increased levels of su...

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