Exploration and business development
Executive Vice-President: Head of exploration and business development
“We are discovering new gold at US$10 per resource ounce, considerably lower than the majority of our peers”
Growing Gold Fields
budget for C2011
Increase in Mineral
Reserves at South
Deep (June 2010 to
Growing Gold Fields’ does not only mean achieving our goal of
5 million quality ounces in production or development by 2015. It
also means pursuing growth in profitable production, earnings and
returns to shareholders on a per share basis. Whilst doing so, we are
also ‘internationalising’ our production base to establish a truly global
presence beyond our historical base in South Africa. This strategy is
taking us into new and promising growth environments, where we are
able to leverage our expertise and capital to expand our production,
as well as our Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves.
This growth and diversification is based on three key activities:
- Successful greenfields exploration, both within our established
Australasia, South America and West Africa Regions, and in highly
prospective locations beyond this in Canada and Kyrgyzstan
- Leveraging off our large Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve base
through successful near-mine exploration, for example at Damang in
Ghana, St Ives in Australia and Cerro Corona in Peru
- Advancing development at our four resource development and
feasibility projects in Finland, Mali, Peru and the Philippines
Achieving growth through exploration
Although we have an opportunistic approach to the acquisition of producing or late stage projects, we believe effective exploration continues to offer the best opportunities for value-adding growth that does not dilute shareholder value. This forms the basis for our aggressive focus on near-mine and greenfields exploration – both in our existing countries of operation and beyond. Our approach continues to be justified by our ongoing success in expanding our Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves.
The diversified nature of our growth pipeline means that we can expect a significant increase in our ‘international’ production in the medium- and long-term, as well as further life extension at our existing operations at current levels of production.
This includes, for example:
- A number of near-mine exploration and organic development opportunities at our existing operations in Ghana and Peru
- Life extension in Australia, Ghana and Peru
- Resource development and feasibility projects in Finland, Mali, Peru and the Philippines
These are in addition to development activities at our South Deep mine, which is going to play a key strategic role in maintaining and increasing South African production volumes as our Kloof-Driefontein Complex (KDC) and Beatrix mines mature.
‘Our overall strategy is to use exploration
to push sustainable production growth
to 5 million quality ounces a year by
2015 and expand our presence beyond
our historic centre in South Africa.
More specifically, our exploration
objectives are to:
- Grow Gold Fields Mineral Reserves
and production on a per-share basis
- Continue developing a rich
greenfields project pipeline to
contribute to our 2015 production
Goal – including
3 million quality
ounces from our Australasia, South
America and West Africa Regions
- Contribute to growth by supporting
organic development and near-mine
exploration in all our regions
- Establish our exploration presence
at a small number of underexplored
locations outside of our regions
of operation, in order to seek
Growth in the medium and long-term
We currently have a number of
significant greenfields resource
development and feasibility projects
that will, once in production, make a
substantial contribution to our overall
production growth. Nonetheless, in
the interim our immediate growth
momentum is reliant on:
- Maintaining stable production
levels at our established
South African operations
- Ramping up production at our
new South Deep mine
- Delivering organic growth at
Cerro Corona through the oxide
- Bringing near-mine exploration
targets at our Damang mine
Our performance in C2010 continues
to demonstrate that we are achieving
solid progress in all these areas. This
provides a stable growth platform
on which our exciting greenfields
resource development and feasibility
projects can build.
Our exploration portfolio now covers five continents and is co-ordinated and supported from our offices in Perth, Australia and in Denver, United States. In addition, our exploration team has offices in:
- Accra, Ghana
- Baguio, Philippines
- Bamako, Mali
- Beijing, China
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- Lima, Peru
- Santiago, Chile
- Vancouver, Canada
In line with our core Values, Gold Fields has an overriding commitment to effective management of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) during exploration. We seek to create a mindset and environment in exploration where people know it is possible to work incident-free, regardless of where they are in the world or what role they undertake. Our EHS Management System is certified to ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001.
Our target portfolio is developed by reviewing and ranking the most prospective areas in the world, having assessed relevant country risks and strategic suitability. Each of our exploration teams continuously monitor and assess potential target projects within their regions.
Gold Fields exploration is based on a disciplined assessment of exploration opportunities, along with attention to quality and timely execution.
This includes the leveraging of our specific technical expertise in area selection to both improve the likelihood of success and to significantly reduce project development timelines.
It is through this proven approach that we create value for our shareholders by driving the growth of our Mineral Reserves and production on a per-share basis.
A range of variables are used to evaluate advanced opportunities, including:
- Mineral Reserve and production potential
- Operating and NCE margin
- Payback period
- Initial capital costs
- Development timeline
- Net asset value
- Cash flow
Gold Fields maintains rigorous quality control and assurance protocols on all of its exploration programmes. These use industry best practice in data acquisition, laboratory verification and sign-off by qualified persons under the 2007 SAMREC and JORC codes.
We assess relevant risks on an ongoing basis as a project advances. This is in order to ensure that its economic potential continues to outweigh the technical, commercial, political, social and environmental risks of development.
Social licence to operate
The establishment and maintenance of a strong social licence to operate is essential for successful exploration activities. It is also an important factor in the licence acquisition process, with many governments offering preference to those companies with a proven track record of constructive community engagement and development. As a result, our implementation of socioeconomic development initiatives in local communities start from the moment we begin to explore – right through to mine closure. In C2010, we spent a total of 5% (US$2.2 million) of our total exploration budget on such initiatives.
The identification of mineralisation is only the first step in taking an ore deposit towards production – with a considerable amount of management and investment required to bring a project to completion. This includes a number of project stages that need to be completed before a project is ultimately delivered (Figure 4.2).
In August 2010, the Board of Gold Fields approved a new Capital Investment Framework. This has given our capital investment strategy greater focus and direction. The Framework also provides a clear structure and process for the management of capital investment projects, including the definition of roles and responsibilities, reporting and accountability. Under the Framework, our capital expenditure falls into two broad categories:
- Capital investment required to maintain the sustainability of existing operations (i.e. ‘business as usual’ capital investment)
- Capital investment needed to expand, extend and/or upgrade an existing facility (near-mine), or build an entirely new facility (greenfields)
Under the Framework, capital investment in exploration projects is subject to a rigorous Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM) process. This includes all of our advanced stage mining projects, which we are developing towards production.
As shown in Figure 4.3, we have split our greenfields exploration portfolio into two major sub-divisions: exploration projects and project development. Exploration projects include all projects at the target definition, initial drilling and advanced drilling (conceptual and scoping) stages.
Project development includes all exploration and capital projects stages, such as resource development and feasibility studies, construction and commissioning.
An exploration-led growth pipeline
Gold Fields is focused on creating high-quality growth opportunities through an aggressive greenfields exploration programme. A maturing and continually growing pipeline has seen spending on greenfields exploration rise in the last three years from US$45 million in F2008 to an estimated US$100 million in C2011. Similarly, spending on near-mine exploration has also been ramped-up from US$52 million in F2008 to US$71 million in F2010.
Over C2011, we have set aside approximately US$150 million for further exploration, which reflects our ongoing commitment to exploration-led growth.
Our efforts in this respect are spearheaded by four resource development and feasibility projects. All four are expected to reach construction decisions within the next 18 to 24 months.
Gold Fields pipeline is also continually diversifying. As we move towards our 2015 target of 5 million ounces, we aim to achieve a 40:60 split in production between the South Africa Region and our three international regions. Our global exploration activity is already supporting this diversification strategy by identifying world class opportunities from Finland through to the Philippines.
View enlarged map with project details
Expanding our growth pipeline
In the six months ended 31 December 2010, Gold Fields spent a total of US$48.6 million on nearmine exploration. Of this, 69% was concentrated on the Australasia Region, 21% on the South Africa Region and 10% on the West Africa Region. In F2010, we spent US$152 million on exploration, comprising of US$81 million on greenfields and US$71 million on near-mine exploration.
Resource development and feasibility projects
We have made significant progress in adding to the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves of our existing operations through extensive near-mine exploration. This is vital in order to ensure we can continue to leverage the existing infrastructure of our established operations well into the future.
Our St Ives mine is moving into a position where it is increasing its overall Mineral Reserves rather than replacing them. This is largely due to the Athena and Hamlet projects within our highly prospective Argo-Athena camp. The camp sits within the St Ives lease area, only 5km from the central Lefroy mill. The camp, which is expected to deliver higher grade ore to the mine, has the potential to add up to 5 million ounces of gold to the mine’s Mineral Reserves. This could extend the life of the mine from six years to more than 10 years.
The Athena project is the first fully defined deposit within the camp, with Mineral Reserves of more than 1 million ounces. During C2010, we started initial production from Athena, having completed a US$100 million decline to its ore zone. Full production is expected in C2011.
In May C2010, our near-mine exploration also resulted in the announcement of an Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of more than 1 million ounces of gold at our Hamlet discovery. Since this discovery, we have implemented a major drilling programme at the deposit, aimed at growing the Mineral Resource base down to a depth of 700 meters. The results of this programme will support a feasibility study and construction has now started. As a result, St Ives will have a total of four higher-grade underground mines in operation.
In addition to these substantial discoveries, we also identified a number of other open pit and underground opportunities within the Argo-Athena camp. These included the new early stage Yorick target, which has been identified 500 meters to the east of the Hamlet discovery, as well as the Poseidon and Dido targets. During C2010, we continued our assessment of these opportunities with the aim of advancing at least two of them, as well as the Neptune target.
At Agnew, our focus has been on the underground extension and Mineral Reserve delineation of the underground Kim South deposit within the Waroonga Complex. Directional drilling down to 1,400 meters successfully added 400 vertical meters to the Kim South ore body and identified significant extensions of the Edmunds lode. As a result, Agnew achieved its stated aim of achieving five years of Mineral Reserves by the end of C2010. We extended this deep directional drilling programme to our adjacent Main Lode ore body in late C2010.
During C2010, we also continued drill testing at the shallow Cinderella deposit, nearby Agnew’s processing plant. Through this testing, we hope to increase our mining flexibility and leverage available mill capacity at the mine – although more work is required.
Together, these programmes will help increase the life of the Agnew mine by between five and 10 years.
South Africa Region
In South Africa, we are developing our Tailings Treatment Project (TTP), also known as the Uranium Project. The intent is to re-process our existing tailings produced at KDC and South Deep. This process will produce uranium, residual gold and sulphuric acid. As part of the project, the re-processed tailings will then be centralised at our new Centralised Tailings Storage Facility (CTSF) (p80). The TTP will serve a number of objectives, including:
- Generation of an additional source of cash flow
- Mitigation of any future liabilities relating to uranium pollution in the West Wits area
- Relocation of all of our tailings in the area to the CTSF, which incorporates a range of features to ensure its environmental effectiveness
The feasibility study for the TTP, which focused on the optimisation of project implementation using a phased approach, was completed in late C2010. This identified total Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) and underground Uranium Mineral Resource of 90.1 million pounds.
Exploration within the South Deep lease area, as well as the adjacent Kalbasfontein Prospecting Right, continued during C2010. We have completed the majority of the programme, with the last borehole results expected in C2012. This will help enhance resource models south of the Wrench Fault, including the Uncle Harry’s and Phase 2 areas.
South America Region
The recent establishment of the Cerro Corona mine means that our nearmine exploration programme is less developed than in other locations. Nonetheless, we are already in the process of analysing solutions to current tailings storage constraints and developing a comprehensive infill drilling programme. This could help us convert additional Mineral Resources into Mineral Reserves as part of our broader growth strategy. In May 2010, for example, we carried out an initial evaluation of the potential for copper and gold mineralisation at the periphery of the porphyry system.
In addition, the planned oxide processing plant at Cerro Corona will treat 7.5 million tonnes of stockpiled oxide. Construction of the plant is due to start in C2011.
West Africa Region
Our Damang mine has continued to show ever-increasing growth potential as a result of an aggressive and successful drilling programme. We plan to maintain our rate of discovery at the mine in order to deliver additional mineable Mineral Reserves and to substantially increase the life of mine. Our near-mine drilling programme at Damang was allocated US$10 million a year in both F2009 and F2010.
During C2010, we focused our exploration activity on the Greater Damang project, which extends for approximately 5km north to south from Huni North to the Nyame prospect. This includes additional infill drilling to support a feasibility study on enlargement of the Damang pit. Beyond this, we are also examining the potential development of a larger pit at the Greater Amoanda project.
C2010 also saw a significant increase in Mineral Reserves at our Juno pit and the Rex pit. These additions have delivered increased operational flexibility at the mine.
At the end of F2010, we had increased the Mineral Reserve base to almost 2 million ounces – or eight years worth of production at current levels. During C2010, further exploration indicated that the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves could be expanded further. Combined with the introduction of a new secondary crusher at the mine, these discoveries are expected to boost production to between 220,000 and 250,000 ounces by mid-C2011 – with significant potential beyond this.
Our exploration activities are now focused on resource conversion of Amoanda North, Rex North, Rex South and other high potential targets.
During C2010, we increased the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves of our advanced stage greenfields exploration project portfolio. These projects are governed through our new Capital Investment Framework (CIF). This is supported by our new Capital Projects Group, through which we are developing the highest levels of in-house expertise in project delivery
The rapidly maturing nature of our exploration pipeline means that we have significant project development activity due to come online within a relatively short period of time.
This is making considerable demands on our corporate centre at a time when we are trying to devolve management activities out to the regions. As a result, during C2010 we started to roll out a new structure based on the establishment of dedicated regional project teams, each of which is headed by a project director with sole responsibility for project delivery. Each project director has a direct reporting line to the Executive Vice President of Capital Projects.
We already have a regional project team in place for our Far South East project in the Philippines, and are in the process of establishing similar teams for our Arctic Platinum project in Finland and our Chucapaca project in Peru.
These teams are overseen by steering committees, including representation from Group senior project management.
In addition, during C2010 we carried out a comprehensive review of our project contracting methodology. This review helped us better understand how we can adapt our contracting strategy and practices to reduce costs, as well as our project risks. This includes the use of lump-sum turnkey contracts that have been subdivided into small project ‘packages’. Having a strong owner project team in place mitigates the risks potentially posed by the packaging of projects to contractors.
The new approach:
- Limits the premium we pay on each project by opening up the work to a much larger body of contractors than would otherwise be possible
- Helps us target specific project contracts to a broader range of relevant discipline experts, reducing our technical risks
- Reduces our project risks by reducing the impact of any one contractor failure
- Helps us avoid any one contractor developing undue leverage in our commercial relationship
Far South East, Philippines
The Far South East (FSE) project represents one of our best greenfields growth opportunities. In September 2010, we passed a major milestone when we entered into option agreements with Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company and Liberty Express Assets to acquire a 60% interest in the FSE deposit. These provide Gold Fields with an 18 month option on FSE, during which time we will conduct a major drilling programme as part of a feasibility study. Depending on the outcome of the drilling and feasibility study, a construction decision will be made in the next 18 to 24 months. The total pre-agreed acquisition price for a 60% interest in FSE is US$340 million.
While there is insufficient work completed to declare a Mineral Resource for FSE, drilling completed by others over a number of years indicates the presence of a large, concealed gold-copper mineralised porphyry system. Over 80 diamond drill holes totalling more than 35,000 meters have been drilled into the system.
The mineralised zone has approximate dimensions of more than 1,000 meters from east to west, 800 meters from north to south and 900 meters vertical. The deposit is deep, with the top of the main mineralised system located at an approximate depth of 900 meters below surface. Within this zone, we consider mineralisation to be continuous, with the deposit remaining open to the east, west, and at depth.
Although metal grades are variable, the following historic drill intersections are considered typical of the FSE mineralised zone: 691 meters at 2.5g/t Au, 0.9% Cu; 906.8 meters at 1.5g/t Au, 0.5% Cu; 613.1 meters at 0.8g/t Au, 0.8% Cu; 733.9 meters at 0.7g/t Au, 0.4% Cu; and 517.4 meters at 0.6g/t Au, 0.4% Cu.
The nature of the deposit means it will require underground shafts, a refrigeration plant, ventilation and other related infrastructure. This has essentially precluded many companies without deep underground mining expertise from developing the prospect. As a result, Gold Fields is in a particularly strong position to leverage its underground mining expertise and experience in South Africa. This will help ensure that our historical production centre can make a major contribution to the ongoing internationalisation of our production portfolio.
FSE is located within an existing mining camp and is near two other mines historically operated by Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, one of which is currently in production. As a result, it has ready access to established infrastructure, including roads, tailings facilities, power and water.
Our due diligence has not identified any major sustainability challenges that would impact the future development of the project. However, resolution on the proposed mining method is outstanding and the full sustainability impact of the proposed mining method would have to be assessed. The well established nature of mining in the area has contributed to an understanding and cooperative stance on the part of the local communities. These local communities have expressed their desire for development to proceed and generate local employment opportunities.
The site has already received its environmental permitting for underground mining and, in September 2010, we engaged external experts to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will also cover community issues and social impacts. The EIA is due for submission in September 2011.
In the last quarter of 2010 logistical work commenced at the project in preparation for start-up of a major drilling programme, which started in January 2011.
Arctic Platinum, Finland
The commercial feasibility of the Arctic Platinum project has been greatly enhanced by current high metal prices, as well as our application of enhanced metal processes. We are currently investigating the application of a range of hydro-metallurgical processing methods for the economic recovery of copper, nickel, gold and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium) from mixed concentrates. Application of this process would preclude the need for off-site smelting.
Preliminary results are encouraging, and we have carried out further work to derive initial operating and capital cost forecasts. In addition, we are in the process of establishing a pilot plant facility to test the applicability of these hydro-metallurgical processes at an industrial level. Depending on the outcome of this pilot project, which is expected to be completed in late 2011, we plan to proceed with a full feasibility study.
In late C2010, four drill rigs completed metallurgical core holes at the Konttijarvi and Ahmavaara deposits. Preliminary results on representative samples show that flotation recoveries equal or exceed the target recoveries used in the financial modelling. Preliminary results of hydrometallurgical pressure oxidation tests of the concentrates returned base and precious metal extractions that are close to or better than the target values. These positive preliminary results have provided the confidence for us to move to pilot plant testing. As a result, drilling is underway to secure the required 50 tonne sample from Konttijarvi. Based on laboratory availability, the pilot plant test work is scheduled to be carried out in the second half of 2011.
Finland represents an excellent operating environment, with a strong regulatory framework and straightforward licensing processes. The potential sustainability risks are limited, with local communities’ main concern being that the deposit is brought into production promptly in order to contribute to the local economy.
The Chucapaca project is an advanced-stage exploration project being carried out in partnership by Gold Fields (51%) and Buenaventura (49%) through a joint venture company, Canteras del Hallazgo S.A.C. (CDH). In January 2010, CDH completed a 22,290 meter delineation drilling programme on the Canahuire deposit in the Chucapaca project area.
In May 2010, CDH announced the discovery of the Canahuire deposit, a major deposit of gold, copper and silver. This was estimated at 5.6 million ounces of gold equivalent, with additional potential beyond the extent of current drilling.
The Inferred Mineral Resource for the Canahuire deposit, on which drilling is taking place, is approximately 83.7 million tonnes, at 1.9 grams per tonne of gold, 0.09% copper and 8.2 grams per tonne of silver. In June 2010, we completed an interim conceptual scoping study and took the decision to advance the project towards prefeasibility. This included a further drilling programme started in July 2010, which focused on defining the extension of mineralisation to the west of the Canahuire deposit, and tested other exploration targets within the project area. In September 2010, we initiated an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment at the site and have now decided to accelerate the project.
“This transaction provides Gold Fields with a unique and exciting opportunity to gain exposure to what will undoubtedly prove to be a world-class deposit”
Nick Holland, Chief Executive Officer, Gold Fields
Our activities in Chucapaca are underpinned by formal agreements with the Corire, Santiago de Oyo Oyo and Chucapaca communities. These provide, inter alia, for the delivery of health and education programmes, in partnership with relevant local authorities.
The agreements also provide for the delivery of other socio-economic development programmes identified by the communities, including training initiatives for local people. Under these agreements CDH has a full mandate for the next five years to complete the exploration and study phases of the work programme. There is, however, significant sensitivity around water quality and availability amongst local communities. As a result, we already have an extensive community engagement programme in place.
1 Mineral Resource total for deposit (100%)
2 Note: These Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Indications are that Chucapaca will become our second mine in the South America Region and the next of our new-generation international growth projects. Should the project proceed to full development, the altitude of the project (approximately 5,000 meters) is likely to have some impacts on our employees and equipment. Nonetheless, our local exploration experience, as well as the development of our Cerro Corona mine, means that we are in a strong position to manage this issue.
The Canahuire deposit is one of several targets in the 12,700 ha project area. Gold Fields has also consolidated a significant portfolio of additional concessions adjacent to the project area and is exploring these on an independent basis.
Our West Africa Region has an approximate 300,000 ounce gap between its current attributable production and its target of 1 million attributable ounces of gold in production or development by 2015. Our exploration team is working in Mali to help close this gap.
We have consolidated a large land position in Mali after the acquisition of Glencar Mining Plc in August 2009. As a result, our Yanfolila project currently includes the Komana, Solona and Sankarani projects in the Yanfolila Belt in south-western Mali.
Since November 2009, Gold Fields has completed more than 130,810 meters of drilling in the area. This includes aircore, reverse circulation and diamond drilling to delineate shallow resources over the Komana East and West deposits, and testing of eight initial drilling targets over five licences.
Drilling activity ramped up in October 2010 with four rigs drilling seven priority targets with the objective of delivering a 2 million ounce gold resource within a 20km radius of the Komana East and Komana West deposits. Approximately 37,000 meters of diamond, reverse circulation and aircore drilling were completed in the last quarter of 2010. This is focused on the consolidation of a sufficient number of small ore bodies in order to achieve the critical mass needed for economic and operational sustainability. Depending on the outcome of this process, we hope to proceed towards a feasibility study and reach a construction decision on an initial project within 18 months. Based on exploration drilling up to December 2010, the fully audited and SAMREC Code compliant Inferred Mineral Resource is 740,000 ounces of gold contained in 9.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.5g/t Au. The table below summarises the breakdown of these Inferred Mineral Resources.
3 Note: These Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Initial drilling at Kabaya South, Gonka and Sanioumale West intersected high grade mineralisation in the oxide zone. Framework and infill reverse circulation drilling is underway at these targets to accelerate them to advanced drilling stage. Early stage exploration across the licences, including soil sampling and aircore drilling, identified a number of initial drilling targets. Aircore drilling also outlined a new 2.4km-long mineralised trend at Guirin West, located 3km west of Komana East.
At Solona, an 8km by 3km goldin- soil anomaly is being tested by aircore drilling with encouraging early results. Ongoing metallurgical tests on samples from the various targets show positive preliminary results. The resource delineation drilling programme will continue into mid-2011 in parallel with other elements required for completion of a scoping study.
The area we are operating in is characterised by weak levels of socio-economic development. During C2010, we implemented a range of SED measures informed by extensive community engagement. This has included road repairs, infrastructure development and construction of an on-site clinic, as well as malaria control and sanitation measures in the community.
In addition to our rapidly maturing advanced exploration project pipeline, we have a broad portfolio of early stage greenfields projects around the world. This broad exploration base will lay the ground for the ongoing growth of Gold Fields well into the future.
At the East Lachlan joint ventures in New South Wales, Gold Fields holds an 80% interest in six project areas and achieved the first-stage earn-in to 51% (of a potential 80%) on the Myall project area. All seven of the project areas are being explored in partnership with Clancy Exploration Ltd. As part of the East Lachlan joint ventures, Gold Fields also claimed a number of areas in its own right, and now holds approximately 2,100km2 in the belt.
During C2010, we started a major programme of aircore drilling at the Myall concession, targeting concealed porphyry gold-copper systems that have breached the paleo-surface. Several high quality targets for initial diamond drill testing have already been identified for follow-up. On other projects in the belt, 11 initial drill targets have been identified and will be tested during C2011.
In July 2009, Gold Fields signed a joint venture agreement to earn into a 70% interest of the Woodjam North project in British Columbia. The project is held by Fjordland Exploration Inc. and Cariboo Rose Resources (the ‘Woodjam Partners’). The agreement includes 42,343 ha covering several known porphyry copper and gold targets in prospective Triassic-aged geologic terrane of south-central British Columbia. In May 2010, Gold Fields signed a second joint venture agreement with the Woodjam Partners to potentially earn 70% on the adjacent 13,827 ha Woodjam South property, which hosts the Southeast Zone porphyry copper target.
Since exercising its options on these properties, Gold Fields has completed various geological, geophysical and geochemical surveys, as well as 26,455 meters of diamond drilling – including 21,546 meters in C2010. At least four centres of significant copper-gold mineralisation have been identified within a north-east trending corridor of airborne magnetic geophysical anomalies. These centres include the Deerhorn, Megabucks, Takom and Southeast zones. Drill results are sufficiently encouraging to promote Woodjam to the Advanced Drilling stage. We plan to start an aggressive resource definition drilling programme in early C2011 and a scoping study is expected to be completed in late C2011.
Gold Fields and Cascadero Copper Corp. signed an agreement in March 2009, which allows Gold Fields to earn up to a 75% interest in Cascadero’s 30,409 ha Toodoggone copper and gold project in British Columbia, Canada.
The initial diamond drilling (4,762 meters) programme was concluded in October 2009. During C2010, the project was on hold while issues with a First Nation group were resolved. A drill programme to test high priority geochemical anomalies is planned for C2011.
Gold Fields has option agreements to acquire 100% of the Salares Norte and Piedra properties held by SBX Asesorias e Inversiones, as well as the Pircas property held by S.C.M. Aguas Heladas. At Pircas we carried out 2,881 meters of drilling to test the main Controlled Source Audio-frequency Magneto-Tellurics (CSAMT) geophysical target and coincident outcrops of silicified breccias. Drill results partly define deeply oxidised vuggy silica-hosted gold-silver mineralisation under a thick cap of barren steam-heated alteration. This may represent the centre of a high sulphidation system and assay results have proven positive. Further drilling is planned in early C2011 to test the limits of this mineralised system. We also plan to carry out initial drilling at the adjacent Salares Norte property, where CSAMT geophysical surveys and trench sampling have defined a promising target for high sulphidation mineralisation.
In C2010, we completed a total of 1,854 meters of diamond drilling in six holes at the Cotapaccha target. Although we intersected a strong high-sulphidation system, results were only weakly anomalous in gold. This is one of 14 fully owned concession blocks within our Tacna project in southern Peru that we have identified as having potential to host epithermal gold-silver mineralisation. Further work is in progress to develop other drill targets within the adjacent concessions. We plan to complete initial drilling on the best two or three targets in the second half of C2011.
Gold Fields entered its second year of an earn-in agreement with Mindoro Resources on three joint ventures, where it can earn up to a 75% interest. The projects, located in the Batangas region of Luzon, are prospective for porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold mineralisation. Eight targets have been tested with approximately 4,000 meters of diamond drilling – including 2,092 meters in 2010.
The drill holes intersected two low-grade copper-gold porphyries and a structurally controlled epithermal gold system. Drilling is currently focused on further testing of porphyry mineralisation intersected on the El Paso joint venture.
In February 2010, we completed our earn-in with respect to our Talas joint venture project. As a result, we now hold an effective 60% interest in the project, with Orsu Metals Corporation holding the remaining 40%. Gold Fields is project manager for the joint venture. Taldybulak is the major deposit within the Talas project and has been the primary focus of exploration and development since 2008.
In April 2010, the President of Kyrgyzstan resigned after violent demonstrations described as a social revolution. A new government was elected and confirmed at the end of 2010.
During this period of political uncertainty, we postponed drilling on the Taldybulak copper-gold deposit, instead focusing our work on technical studies for Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) locations and on baseline data collection.
The Taldybulak Exploration Licence was renewed in November 2010 and is valid through to 31 December 2015. The adjacent Barkol licence was extended by three years to 31 December 2013.
In May 2010, we completed an open pit optimisation for the Taldybulak deposit, which resulted in a fully audited Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource, as outlined in the table below.
A Scoping Study was completed by a technical consultant and released by our joint venture partner in December 2010.The study envisages a conventional 41,000 tpd open pit mine using flotation processing to produce a copper-gold-molybdenum concentrate. Total mine life is estimated to be 17 years, with 254 million tonnes of ore extracted to yield 3.4 million ounces of gold, 390,000 tonnes of copper and 13,900 tonnes of molybdenum. The study suggests a pre-tax internal rate of return of 16.3%.
Field activities during the second half of 2010 comprised ongoing community relations programmes, hydrological monitoring and site studies for potential tailings storage facilities. A more detailed costing report is in progress and will be used to update the Scoping Study in C2011. A follow-up programme of close-spaced drilling is scheduled for mid-2011 to test the short range variability of the deposit and allow a decision to proceed to pre-feasibility.
1 Note: These Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Mineral Resource estimate, which
is reported in accordance with the South African Code for the Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, 2007 Edition (SAMREC code), is reported without dilution or ore loss. The Mineral Resources are constrained within an optimised open pit shell developed using scoping-level study parameters including mining, processing and administration cost estimates; mining parameters; and process recoveries for gold, copper and molybdenum. Commodity prices used in this study are US$1,150/oz gold, US$3.00/lb copper and US$15/lb molybdenum. Some figures may not sum exactly due to rounding. Sixty (60) % of the resource are attributable to Gold Fields
2 Mineral Resource total for deposit (100%)