Gold Fields cuts output forecast after bad weather hits new Chile mine

Salares Norte operations. (Image courtesy of Gold Fields.)

Gold Fields on Thursday lowered its annual gold production forecast after bad weather impacted the ramp-up at its new Salares Norte mine in Chile, sending its shares down 8%.

The South African miner lowered its calendar 2024 gold output forecast to 2.2–2.3 million ounces from 2.33-2.43 million.

This was mainly due to lower expected output from Salares Norte, which is now seen at 90,000-180,000 ounces versus a previous forecast of 220,000-240,000 ounces.

Lower output from Salares Norte is caused by the early onset and extended duration of winter conditions during the commissioning and ramp-up phase, Gold Fields said in a statement.

“These weather events resulted in the freezing of material in the piping of the process plant causing temporary shutdown of the plant,” Gold Fields said.

As a result of its lower output forecast, Gold Fields’ all-in sustaining costs are expected to be $1,470 to $1,530 per ounce versus its previous guidance of $1,410-$1,460.

The $1.2 billion Salares Norte mine delivered its first gold on March 28 after suffering several delays due to Covid-19 and bad weather.

Salares Norte is situated in Chile’s Atacama region at high altitude in an area where winters can be extremely cold.

Gold Fields appointed Mike Fraser as CEO from January to lead the Johannesburg-based company’s expansion in the Americas where it is investing in new mines in Chile and Canada.

(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)


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