The Australian mining industry is one of the largest in the world, bringing significant profit to the nation. Gold Fields’ collection of mines certainly stands as a key contributor to the Australian mining industry. Operating across four mines in the Southwest region of Australia, a lot can be said for the rapid growth that the mining entity has experienced in the last 20 years, reaching an unprecedented position in Australian mining.
As suggested by the name, Gold Fields mines are located across the Eastern Goldfields region in Western Australia. The company is comprised of four mines: Agnew, St Ives, Granny Smith and Gruyere. The first two mines were acquired over 20 years ago, operating a tiny production, before growing into the mining entity it is today. Such success was further advanced with the attainment of Granny Smith and Lawlers gold mines from Barrick Gold towards the end of 2013. Furthermore, in 2016 Gold Fields created a vital joint venture with Gold Road, so that the Gruyere mine could be utilised more efficiently, in the form of an open pit. Such an acquisition was a solidifying moment of Gold Field’s success.
The prosperity of Gold Fields is represented by the Yilgarn South Assets, which is a measurement of the company’s contributions to the Australian mining sector. Currently, the Yilgarn South Assets provide an additional 452,000 ounces of annual production to the country’s mining sector, with 2.6 million reserve ounces and 1.9 resource ounces. In reference to the former, this is the projected figure of materials that are expected to be recovered and produced at the four mines. Alternatively, resource ounces refer to the economic interest in mining operations. This is indicative of the external investment in Gold Fields operations, and how this translates financially. It is therefore no wonder that Gold Fields Mines is the largest regional Australian production centre, responsible for 40% of total production.
If we take a closer look at each individual mine, we can begin to see how each site has a specialism which contributes to the bigger picture of Gold Fields success. For example, St Ives is the oldest mine out of the four mines. Having been in operation since the mid-1980s, it has produced over 10.5 million ounces of gold. This makes it the leading gold producer out of all the mines, as it produces more than 350,000 ounces of gold each year. Such discoveries are made through the successful exploration of the extensive greenfields project pipeline, as the mine is characterised by both underground and surface mining. Over the years, St Ives has had many significant findings, such as the discovery of an impressive high-grade deposit, which was viewed as such an impressive venture, that it earned the name of ‘Invincible deposit’.
Moving on to the Gruyere Mine, it is heralded as one of Australia’s largest underdeveloped gold deposits. Located about 200km east of Laverton in Western Australia, it has an accumulated mineral resource of 148 million tonnes, grading at 1.2 grams per tonne for 6.2 million ounces of contained gold. The Gruyere Mine is so successful that is projected to become Australia’s deepest open-cut gold mine. Currently, the mine consists of one main open pit which will be developed in stages to incorporate an approximate depth of 500 meters below the surface. The main mining activities that occur at Gruyere mine include loading, hauling, drilling, blasting and equipment maintenance, which is carried out by specialised contractors. Subsequently, the Gruyere Mine is projected to continue prosperous exploration until at least 2031.
Located to the northeast of Perth, is the third mine; Granny Smith Mine. This particular mine demonstrates the unwavering dedication of the Gold Fields team, as four days a week the team fly to the site via a chartered jet from Perth Airport, taking nearly an hour and a half to travel to work. Thankfully, Gold Fields recognises the strain that this may have on employees, consequently, some members of the team live in host community towns such as Laverton and Kalgoorlie. Granny Smith’s most active mine can be found at Wallaby, where the Granny Smith Carbon-in-pulp processing plant is located and metal ores are processed under campaign milling conditions.
Finally, the Gold Fields Australia mining network is made from the Agnew Gold Mine. Located in the Eastern Goldfields region, it produces more than a quarter of a million ounces of gold a year. The Agnew mine was acquired by Gold Fields in 2001, which allowed the mine to source gold from underground and be processed by the CIP plant. Similar to Granny Smith, the 650-man workforce flies in from the outpost location of Perth. The commitment of the Gold Fields team stems from underground production, development, and maintenance, to low-voltage electrical works.
Gold Fields has a clear devotion to diversity and inclusivity in the company. The company has a strong belief in a rich culture throughout the organisation. Consequently, diversity is not just a tick box, but a valued contribution to the company, as the experience, knowledge, and creativity of each individual is a key asset to the success of the business. This is demonstrated by the meritocracy system that the company operates on, as each employee is encouraged to reach their full potential.
This is refreshing to see when the company is placed in a mining landscape where indigenous Australians, as well as women, lack overall representation. In response to this, they have created initiatives that help support these groups, which include bursaries, and trainee apprentice and graduate programs, which help mentor the next generation of talent in Gold Field mines. In particular, the conviction in a women-led workforce is coming to fruition: over 45% of the Perth office comprises of women, with 40% of women in leadership roles. The notion of gender equality is so deeply rooted in the value of the company, that they are working hard towards the representation of women in all roles, with the goal of 25% representation by 2025, and 30% by 2030. This is further indicated by the indigenous populous that makes up 3.6% of the entire workforce, with clear efforts to expand in the future.
Overall, Gold Fields Australia has created a tenacious reputation in the Australian mining industry. With a wide variety of services available, spanning across mining sites, they are going through a period of exponential expansion. Consequently, they are one of the most valued added mining companies in Australia, with no plans of stopping!