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, cutting output by a full quarter because of a strike. Gold Fields, which has mines in Australia, Ghana and Peru, has invested R32bn in South Deep and has struggled since taking ownership of the mine in 2006 to make it a sustainably profitable operation. The latest setback is a protected strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to protest against the cutting of 1,500 jobs, or one-third of the mine’s workforce, to lower costs in line with subdued production. “What I’ve done is assume the strike will continue to the end of December, so in essence we lose a whole quarter. We had a go-slow before then of six to seven weeks because there were rumours that something might happen on retrenchments,” CEO Nick Holland said in a Friday interview.

“It’s bit of a write-off year for South Deep as we try to get through the...

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