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We remain highly committed to the continual improvement of our environmental performance. Key areas of focus include water stewardship, mine closure and the reduction of our carbon emissions and energy usage. Our approach to environmental management is defined by our sustainable development framework of policies, as well as the ISO 14001 international environmental management standard. All of our operations are certified to the ISO 14001 standard. All of our eligible operations are fully compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code. Gold Fields does not use mercury for the beneficiation of gold or in any of its processes.

Energy, carbon and climate change

Climate change

Gold Fields position on climate change and our high level response is clearly articulated in our Group Policy:

Recognition that global warming & climate change is a reality that requires global action
Commitment to a global solution through deployment of responsible strategies and actions
Designing and implementing strategies that seeks to:
Reduce the companies carbon footprint
Improve our energy efficiency
Pursue potential opportunities to utilise low carbon technologies (where feasible)
Providing an enabling environment to achieve carbon savings and the deployment of innovations

Energy and carbon management

Total Group energy cost increased to US$361 million in 2014 (2013: US$305 million), comprising 21% of Group operating costs in 2014 (2013: 18%). This proportion is likely to rise in a global context of increasing energy demand and constraints on supply. As such, energy management remains a top priority – in terms of controlling both costs and carbon emissions as well as ensuring security of supply.


Gold Fields integrates energy and carbon management into all aspects of its business through its Integrated Energy and Carbon Management Strategy. This strategy seeks to ensure energy security; decrease carbon emissions; explore immediateand long-term energy efficiency opportunities; and investigate viable sources of alternative energy.

Gold Fields remains committed to renewable energy solutions at both its operations as well as new mine developments. For the latter, we have set a target of an average of 20% renewable energy generation for all new mine developments.

Energy and carbon performance was integrated into the balanced scorecards of senior and line management in 2014, while energy security – including the evaluation of renewable energy – is contained in the Group Scorecard for 2015 (p23).

During 2014, each region was required to:

Establish energy and carbon baselines
Set targets for reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions until 2016 and develop strategies to achieve those targets
Integrate performance indicators based on energy and carbon performance into the balanced scorecards of management

In line with these requirements, the regions finalised new energy and carbon emission baselines in 2014 – as well as associated energy and carbon reduction targets (with defined strategies to achieve them). The regions’ 2014 energy performances, as well as their targeted reductions (which were subject to an external review), are set out below:

Americas: During 2014, Cerro Corona achieved a reduction in diesel consumption intensity of 12% (TJ/MT mined) against a target of 12% and a reduction in electricity consumption intensity of 6% (TJ/MT processed) against a target of 8%, leading to savings of US$4.3 million in energy costs. Actual diesel consumption (in TJ) was reduced by 24% to 357 TJ and electricity consumption (in MWh) by 3% to 143,441 MWh. A total reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 13.6% was achieved against a target of 15.5%. All targets are against a baseline year of 2013.
Australia: As a result of the acquisition of the Yilgarn South Assets in October 2013, net diesel consumption increased by 129% in 2014 to 2,696 TJ and electricity consumption by 27% to 296,989 MWh. But the elimination of marginal mining at the Australian operations and campaign milling at Granny Smith have already led to significant improvements in energy efficiency. A 9% (GJ) reduction in energy (electricity and diesel) consumption and a 7% reduction in carbon emissions by 2016 have been targeted for the region (using a 2012 baseline year for St Ives and a 2013 baseline year for Agnew/ Lawlers, Granny Smith and Darlot). Energy savings of A$10 million were achieved for 2014. Of this A$6 million was a result of mine optimisation while A$3.9 million resulted from specific energy efficiency projects.
West Africa: At our two Ghanaian mines net diesel consumption declined by 21% in 2014 to 2,926 TJ and electricity consumption dropped by 6% to 420,878 MWh. Targets for an 8.5% (GJ/oz) reduction in energy (electricity and diesel) consumption and a 5% reduction in carbon emissions have been set for the Tarkwa and Damang mines for 2016 (using a 2014 baseline year). Energy savings in 2014 amounted to US$4.7 million as a result of energy efficiency initiatives.

As South Deep is still in development, the project has not yet set reduction targets under the strategy. Nonetheless, as production ramps up:

The energy consumption and the carbon emissions are likely to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% from a 2013 actual to a 2016 forecast.
Over the same period the intensity per ounce is likely to decrease by 12% and intensity per ton mined/milled by 6%, while emissions per ounce are likely to decrease by 13% and per ton mined/milled by 7%.

Actual electricity consumption last year declined by 13% to 476,767 MWh as a result of lower production at the mine.

Group and Regional energy and carbon performance

Regional and Group Energy and Carbon Performance

  2016       2015 2014  
Electricity Purchased (MWh)              
Americas 153,379       145,361 143,441  
Australia 287,480       277,521 296,989  
South Africa 525,749       484,256 476,767  
West Africa 433,814       415,215 420,878  
Group 1,400,422       1,322,353 1,338,075  
Diesel consumption (kL)              
Americas 12,713       13,455 9,939  
Australia 71,057       76,867 75,034  
South Africa 3,060       2,457 2,419  
West Africa 96,669       99,739 81,423  
Group 183,498       192,518 168,815  
Total energy consumption (GJ)              
Americas 1,014,336       1,012,363 876,812  
Australia 3,604,448       3,250,575 3,285,225  
South Africa 2,005,575       1,835,467 1,807,258  
West Africa 5,073,537       5,141,964 4,496,451  
Group 11,697,895       11,240,369 10,465,746  
Energy Intensity (GJ/oz produced)              
Americas 3.75       3.42 2.69  
Australia 3.82       3.28 3.18  
South Africa 6.91       9.27 9.01  
West Africa 7.09       6.82 6.11  
Group 5.27       5.02 4.56  
Total Energy Costs (US$m)              
Americas 20.68       21.08 22.61  
Australia 83.90       96.43 130.43  
South Africa 31.55       31.00 33.11  
West Africa 153.19       163.16 175.14  
Group 289.32       311.67 361.29  
Energy spend (% of Opex) 2016       2015 2014  
Americas 14%       15% 14%  
Australia 14%       18% 18%  
South Africa 10%       13% 13%  
West Africa 32%       31% 32%  
Group 19%       22% 21%  
CO2 emissions (tonnes) (Scope 1-3)              
Americas 126,096       124,030 100,645  
Australia 565,544       536,782 537,662  
South Africa 569,401       531,078 539,057  
West Africa 702,718       561,273 516,679  
Group 1,963,759       1,753,163 1,694,043  
Carbon emission intensity (tonnes CO2 - e/oz)              
Americas 0.31       0.27 0.19  
Australia 0.43       0.39 0.37  
South Africa 1.92       2.50 2.48  
West Africa 0.7       0.48 0.43  
Group 0.69       0.59 0.55  


Water stewardship remains a key sustainability priority for Gold Fields.

Environmental experts predict that clean water scarcity will become one of the most pressing global environmental challenges in coming decades. For example, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimates that by 2030, global demand for water could potentially outstrip supply by over 40%. The World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Risk Report for 2015 lists water scarcity as the top global risk in terms of severity. A 2013 survey commissioned by the World Gold Council (‘WGC’) also confirms the growing future importance of water. The survey, entitled ‘The Gold Mining Industry: Reputation & Issues, a Survey of Senior Stakeholders and Opinion Formers’, lists competition for natural resources (including water) as being predicted to emerge as the greatest challenge over the next 20 years. In part, this is because it is often the most impactful and/or sensitive issue for host and downstream communities. It is also a key vector for the potential spread of pollution, whether as a result of an immediate incident or the gradual build-up and movement of contaminants over time. As such, water remains a key focus area for each of our operations’ Environmental Management Systems (‘EMS’) – through which we assess, manage, monitor and report on our water use and the quality of our discharges (where they occur).

Gold Fields is committed to the responsible water stewardship for the benefit of our host communities and other key stakeholders, whilst ensuring a secure supply of water for our mines and projects. In practice this means:

  • Measuring and reporting our water management performance
  • Integrating water management into mine planning (including closure and post-closure)
  • Leaving an enduring, positive legacy

For more details on our group water management strategy, including our approach to managing Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) at our operations where this occurs, please refer to our Integrated Annual Report.

We have also made four submissions, in 2011, 2012,2013 and 2014, to the CDP Water Disclosure project. This places us among other leading  mining companies that voluntarily report on their water strategy, goals, usage and approach to water-related risk management.


Our management of fauna and flora is based on an understanding of the complex relationships between biodiversity, climate change and water – as well as the need to manage ecosystems in their entirety. Where feasible, we aim to have a net positive impact on biodiversity. All of our mines evaluate direct and indirect biodiversity risks under their environmental management systems and as part of mine lifecycle management.

The Gold Fields Group Biodiversity Practice Guide provides for the integration of biodiversity conservation into all aspects of the mining life cycle. All our operations are expected to comply, as a minimum, with in-country regulatory requirements relating to bio-diversity conservation. However it is our aim to adopt good practice in relation to biodiversity conservation across our operations and our Biodiversity Practice Guide has thus been developed in reference to the ICMM Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity.

Where relevant, we work with local communities and environmental NGOs to develop biodiversity management plans and to carry out joint monitoring of our biodiversity risks and impacts.

The Puya raimondii, also known as ‘Queen of the Andes’, is the largest species of bromeliad, endemic to Bolivia and Peru and restricted to the high Andes at an elevation of 3200 – 4800 m. This plant, which grows in the locality of Gold Fields Chucapaca Project, is an IUCN red data species. Many of the species are monocarpic, with the parent plant dying after one flower and seed production event.

A great diversity of rare flora species grow around our Chucapaca Project. Gold Fields sponsored research into and publication of a book in 2013 entitled Flora of the Andes of Moquegua, ethnobotany of the higher Tambo and Ichuna Rivers. This book is a result of eight years of botanical and ecological studies of the Tambo River and Ichuna River geographic boundaries by Daniel Tubee. Over 400 hundred species of plants and ferns are reported. There is a large absence of published information regarding these plants and their ecosystems. We expect this illustrated book will lead to greater interest, conservation efforts and appreciation for the incredible diversity of plants in this area.

At our Cerro Corona mine there are some sensitive fauna and endemic flora species. For the conservation of these species management plans have been developed and implemented. These plans include activities such as the relocation of the species, where applicable. Following relocation, these species are then monitored in the new areas to assess their establishment. Besides this, seeds of sensitive species are collected for potential propagation and revegetation. Cerro Corona has a biodiversity monitoring programme for birds, mammals, plants and other species in its area of influence.

In Ghana, we implement a total ban on hunting on our land holdings and have strict controls to protect local water bodies. Because of this, our operations act as de facto sanctuaries for local wildlife and enjoy high levels of biodiversity compared to their surrounds.

The shores of Lake Lefroy near St Ives in Australia represent an area of sensitive biodiversity. Internal and external permitting and monitoring systems are in place to assess the cumulative impacts of the operation’s lake-based mining and to minimise related ecological impacts.

Mine closure

Ultimately all our sites, at whatever stage of development, will require some form of reclamation and rehabilitation. The process of planning for this eventuality is to be undertaken in accordance with the principles and practices described in the Guideline, which covers both mine closure planning and cost estimations.

Mine closure planning and cost estimations should be undertaken throughout the mining life cycle and will include the following three stages, in accordance with good practice guidance from the international Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM):

  1. Conceptual closure planning (CCP): A CCP should be developed during the following phases: Exploration, pre-feasibility, feasibility (which includes planning and design), construction and operation to within at least 5 years of closure
  2. Detailed closure planning: When the operation is within five years of closure, it is required that the conceptual closure plan be updated to a detailed closure plan
  3. Definitive closure planning: The timing for development of a definitive closure plan is twelve months to expected closure.

All of our operations are required to have a mine closure plan and cost estimate in place.

The total gross closure cost estimates for all Gold Fields operating mines are disclosed annually in our Integrated Annual Review and financial statements.

The funding methods used by each region to make provision for the mine closure cost estimates are:

Ghana – reclamation bonds underwritten by banks and restricted cash
South Africa – contributions into environmental trust funds and guarantees
Australia – unconditional bank-guaranteed performance bonds
Peru – bank guarantee’s

We make full provision for environmental rehabilitation based on the net present value of the estimated cost of restoring any environmental disturbance that has occurred up to the balance sheet date.