Business & Industry

Sep 1, 2016

GOLD MINES FACE NEW CHALLENGES

Although jewellery is one of the major consumer industries of gold ore, its consumption has grown significantly in the recent decades, thanks to the increasing number of electronic devices and new technologies that transform time into something even more tantivy. Considering that producing of gold is a slow process, responding to the current market demands can become challenging.

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According to the website "Statista.com", between 2005 and 2015, the world's gold production increased consistently, from about 2,470 metric tons in 2005 to about 3,000 metric tons in 2015. However, factors such as pressure costs, lack of significant discoveries and lack of projects implementation can reverse this trend.

Gold mining projects take a long time to develop, as well as to begin production. Many times, this process can take 10 years or more, so it isn´t easy for mining companies respond to immediate needs.

Recently, the industry has undergone a change that altered its normal cycle. South Africa, the world's largest producer until 2007, gradually lost the lead, and ended up falling to 7th place in 2015.

For many years, the country provided about two-thirds of the world's gold production, producing around 1,000 tons annually. This number has decreased substantially, registering 168 tonnes in 2015. The reasons for this don´t include lack of resources, as the country is just below Australia, the leader in reserves, but rather the high production costs, which in South Africa are higher than those in other areas.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gold Fields Limited is the largest gold mining company in the country and is among the World's top ten. Formed in 1998, it currently owns and operates eight gold mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. About 45% of the production comes from the operations in Australia, and 9% originates in South Africa. Gold Fields produces approximately 60 tons of gold per year, that is, approximately one third of the total country production.

The company was rated the best South African mining company, in "The Sustainability Yearbook 2016", a publication that evaluates the sustainable performance of the World's 2100 largest companies, measures the management practices in the economic and environmental areas, as well as the approaches to social involvement.

This publication, launched in early 2016 at the "World Economic Forum" in Davos, Switzerland, by the investment firm RobecoSAM, included seven South African companies.

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