Home » Gold Fields Advances Mining with ESG Focus, AGM Discusses Sustainability

Gold Fields Advances Mining with ESG Focus, AGM Discusses Sustainability

Company Embraces Renewable Projects, Enhances Community Value, Chairperson Reveals

by Adenike Adeodun

At this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Gold Fields chairperson Yunus Suleman emphasized that integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors is crucial for the sustainability and success of the mining sector. This insight was shared with shareholders of the Johannesburg- and New York-listed company, stressing the importance of renewable energy investments and community engagement.

Gold Fields, a global leader in gold production, is actively expanding its renewable energy capacity to decrease carbon emissions, a move Suleman highlights as both a strategic and operational benefit. “These renewable projects, though capital intensive, support our goal of energy reliability, cost-effectiveness, and reduced environmental impact,” Suleman explained. In 2023, renewable sources accounted for 17% of the company’s energy, thanks in part to new solar plants at South Deep in South Africa and Gruyere in Australia.

Looking forward, Suleman announced that the construction of a $195-million renewable power project at the St Ives mine in Australia has begun. Once completed, this project is expected to supply up to 73% of the mine’s energy needs, underscoring Gold Fields’ commitment to sustainable mining practices and long-term asset growth.

Beyond environmental concerns, Gold Fields places a strong emphasis on creating value for the communities surrounding its mines. Last year, the company’s investments in community initiatives surpassed the $ 1 billion mark, reflecting a deep commitment to fostering economic growth and stability in these areas. “Our mines are not isolated entities. We strive to generate lasting benefits for our host communities, which in turn enhances our operational performance,” Suleman added.

Jacqueline McGill, chairperson of the social, ethics, and transformation committee at Gold Fields, detailed the company’s extensive contributions to local governments and economies. In the previous year alone, host governments received $540 million in taxes, royalties, and dividends, with 95% of the company’s procurement spending retained within the host countries. “Continuous dialogue with government bodies allows us to contribute to policy development and address potential conflicts effectively,” McGill noted.

The AGM also included a somber moment of silence to honor five employees who lost their lives in the past year, including incidents at the Tarkwa mine in Ghana and the South Deep and St Ives mines. These tragedies have spurred an independent safety review, which is near completion. “We are committed to implementing the recommendations from this review to prevent future incidents and ensure the safety and well-being of all our employees,” Suleman stated.

Gold Fields also addresses mental health, fostering a workplace culture marked by respect, inclusivity, and care. Following a workplace review last year, the company has implemented new policies and monitors their effectiveness quarterly. “Our objective is to create an environment where all employees feel valued and respected,” said McGill.

Looking to the future, Gold Fields is not only focusing on expanding existing mines but also exploring new partnerships and development projects. Notable collaborations include joint ventures with Osisko Mining in Quebec and AngloGold Ashanti in Ghana, signaling a strategic approach to growth through both near-mine and greenfield exploration.

Gold Fields operates nine mines across South Africa, Ghana, Australia, Chile, and Peru, with an annual gold-equivalent production of 2.3 million ounces and proved and probable reserves of 46.1 million ounces. Despite challenges from severe weather events impacting production in the first quarter, the company expects a stronger performance in the latter half of 2024.

Moreover, the company’s commitment to biodiversity and conservation is evident in its ongoing research and protection efforts for chinchillas in Chile, aligning with environmental regulations and expert collaborations to ensure the safety and preservation of local wildlife at the Salares Norte mine.

Gold Fields’ approach illustrates a comprehensive strategy where ESG principles are not just an adjunct to business but are woven into the fabric of its operations, ensuring resilience, profitability, and a positive legacy for future generations.


Source: Mining Weekly

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