Gold Fields Management Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

| About: Gold Fields (GFI)

Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI)

Q4 2013 Earnings Call

February 13, 2014 3:00 am ET


Jan Willie Jacobsz - Head of Investor Relations & Corporate Affairs and Senior Vice President

Nicholas John Holland - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Paul A. Schmidt - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director


Allan J. Cooke - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Steve A. Shepherd - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Andrew Byrne - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Patrick Mann - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Christopher Nicholson - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Derryn Maade - HSBC, Research Division

Kane Slutzkin - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Adrian Hammond - BNP Paribas, Research Division

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us here this morning for the December Quarterly and Year-End Results. Just a few administrative things, could I please ask you to all switch off your phones because it interferes with the electronic equipment and the webcast? And just some emergency arrangements, if it becomes necessary for us -- I should say, in the highly unlikely event that it's necessary for us to evacuate the room, you can use both of the back exits out and downstairs, where they'll show you outside and congregate at the far end of the property away from the buildings.

The way that we'll handle the presentation this morning is that Nick will make a presentation, and after that, we will have a time for questions and answers. And then immediately following that, we will have the regular roundtable with the media people in the boardroom downstairs. We also have participants on the webcast as well as on the teleconference call, and we will also give them the opportunity to raise questions should they wish to do so.

Thank you very much. I'll now hand over to Nick.

Nicholas John Holland

Thank you very much, Willie, and good morning, everyone. A special welcome to the executives who've joined us today, along with Paul Schmidt on the stage, our Chief Financial Officer. We have Alfred Baku, who is the EVP in charge of Ghana, who's joined us today. I also see his South African colleague over there, Kgabo Moabelo. Thanks for joining us, Kgabo. Should be ladies first, really, but Lee-Ann Samuel, Group HR; Brett Mattison, Corporate Development. And also special thanks to our Audit Committee Chair for joining us today, Gayle Wilson, who is a regular at these events. Thanks for coming.

All right, there's quite a bit to get through, so let's get straight into it.

So looking at the quarter, we've achieved 598,000 ounces of gold equivalent for the quarter, that's up 21% against the previous quarter, principally because of the Yilgarn South acquisition, and I'll show you some details of that in a moment. That's the main reason for the increase. If you strip that out, we're pretty flat really across that [ph], but it was a good performance from those operations in the last quarter, we believe.

There's a lot of confusion in people's minds about all-in costs and all-in sustaining costs. But this is the new metric that we will be reporting going into quarter 1. And the good news maybe for some, and maybe it's bad news for others, these are the only metrics that we are only going to report in 2014. Because it really gives a true reflection of what it costs to produce an ounce in the business. So all-in costs, we've come down to $1,095, and all-in sustainable, if you strip out what we classify as growth capital, and that's really up to South Deep, that's come down to $1,054.

Net cash generated from the core business before financing and any acquisitions, $38 million. That has been a key consideration for us, is to turn this business back to cash positive in the face of an unprecedented decline in the gold price during the course of 2013. And it's a start to where we want to get to, but importantly, it's a big turnaround from where we've come from. Normalized earnings of $14 million. We've paid a dividend in line with our policy, and let me just confirm again our policy has not changed. Our policy is still 25% to 35% of earnings that we'll use as a basis for dividend payout. We're paying ZAR 0.22, and that comes to around about 30% of normalized earnings for the quarter. We strip out the nonrecurring items for that basis.

As we flagged [ph] back in August when we presented here, we would be doing some impairments at year end. We have to run all of our economic models at $1,300 per ounce to do that. That took us a number of months because we had to rerun our reserves. And so that means that we're impairing around about $672 million at year end, and that's principally in Ghana at Damang; $173 million of that is at Damang given the drop in the gold price, in particular, and also in St. Ives in Australia. Those are the 2 big ticket items that we've got. So it's really Ghana and Australia. And these impairments are really on the back of the lower gold price. Given that we were using $1,500 an ounce in the previous year, we're now using $1,300. So it's really gold price related. It doesn't have any bearing on the technical nature of the ore bodies. There hasn't been any material modeling changes in the ore bodies as such, and also we've used higher discount rates and that's a function of a change in the risk-free rates across the world, the risk premiums we apply and also the beater [ph] that applies to the gold industry, so we put those through.

We've also been analyzing. How do we look relative to everybody else? Well, the industry, so far, has impaired over $25 billion over the last year in asset impairments. So there are much bigger ticket items being impaired elsewhere than what we've done. And this means that at $1,300, we're very comfortable with the carrying value of our assets.

Highlights in the quarter. Clearly, the acquisition of the Yilgarn South assets that we got on the 1st of October has been a highlight. That come in at 114,000 ounces at an all-in cost of $940 per ounce. And just to remind to us, that all-in includes everything except income taxes: royalties, capital expenditure, operating costs, G&A, stock changes, you name it. It's all in there. So that came in at USD 940 per ounce.

Damang, we had a significant turnaround. I'm pleased to say that we got our production up by 39% to 45,000 ounces. But more importantly, we dropped the all-in cost down 27% to $1,261, and we believe this creates a platform for further improvements in the performance of Damang going forward.

South Deep has continued to reduce its costs, and we're now down to $1,436 all-in costs. We're edging closer to that breakeven point that we're looking for. And we've just put in here, what did we look like in quarter 1? In quarter 1, we were over $2,200. Now we're down 35% to $1,436, so we are getting closer to that. And our group all-in costs, as I mentioned earlier, are down to $1,095. Now again, if you went back to quarter 1, that figure was $1,476, so we've taken out 26% of that cost base over the year. And as you can see, that's been a key focus for us in 2013.

This was a scorecard I put up in August, when we presented here of the key ingredients that needed to improve the performance of Gold Fields. We needed to save further costs in capital. And as you'll see, we've taken $450 million out of our cost base during the course of 2013. And that's across the board: capital, operating costs, growth, exploration. So that's dropped by $450 million. And you've seen that in the unit costs that I mentioned just now.

We've integrated the Yilgarn assets. We announced them on the 22nd of August. In fact, that deal only closed on the 1st of October, and it's amazing how quickly we've managed to get everyone aligned and into the new way of thinking in Gold Fields in Australia.

Tarkwa transition to CIL. That's done. We stopped the heap leach operations at the end of December. We said that Damang was a key issue. We had to make a decision on Damang. And our decision today is we believe we have a viable operation for the future, and this is the first step, these results in making sure that follows through.

The South Deep restructuring is largely done. We've made a lot of changes, and I think that's going to set us up for the future. And I'll talk about the build-up again a little bit later. And then we've been looking to trade out of some of the portfolio of growth assets. We don't have anything new to say today on that, except to say that the process continues. If we can find reasonable offers for the assets, we'll look at it. But at the same time, we're not going to give them away. And the holding costs of maintaining those assets and keeping them in the portfolio are low. So we can return the optionality without incurring a significant amount of money on those assets.

Looking briefly at the year, because this is now the financial year close that we're working through here. We did 2 million ounces this year, very similar to the previous year. Cash costs, and again you're seeing this now for the last time because I won't be talking about cash costs into the future. You know my views on cash costs. But for what it's worth, $803 an ounce; NCE, $1,146. You won't be seeing that again in the future. But that shows what we did. We went from $1,348 in 2012 to $1,146 in 2013, so a big drop. And then more importantly, the all-in costs and all-in sustaining costs. We've given you some pro forma numbers of the previous year. We dropped from $1,537 all-in costs in 2012 to $1,312 in 2013. But more importantly, as I said, at the end of quarter 4 2013, we were down to $1,095. And it shows you the scale of change from where we were in 2012 to the quarter 4 of 2013. And I've talked about the dividend.

This really demonstrates what we've achieved in the cost base. We've given you the last 8 quarters here. We've shown you the gold production in the bars, and then we're showing you the all-in costs in the red, the gold price in the blue. And what you're seeing, really, over the last 2 quarters, in particular, is we've managed to increase the production base with the Yilgarn South acquisition. But at the same time, we've dropped the cost base, the all-in costs in red. We've dropped that down very significantly over the same period. And I think that sets Gold Fields up to be much more sustainable at the current price levels. And we're not restructuring this business hoping that the gold price is going to recover. We're restructuring the business, expecting that $1,300 is what we have to work with for the foreseeable future. In the longer term, I think it will improve. But we have to accept that over the next year or so, this may be as good as it gets.

So looking at the $450 million I talked about, removing that from the cost base, how we managed to do that? There's no real silver bullet, as such. It's a range of initiatives. It's cutting out marginal production. We said previously, it's not about ounces; it's about cash. So we already started cutting down marginal production in 2012 as we sought to improve the margin per ounce. That's when we shut down the St. Ives heap leach operations. We pulled out of the low-grade Agnew areas, and we shut down the Tarkwa South heap leach.

We've also trimmed our corporate and regional cost structures. We've had a 10% reduction in headcount over that period, which, including contractors, translates to around about 1,700 or 1,800 people. We've rationalized our capital. In 2012, we spent $1.2 billion. This year -- this last year past, 2013, we spent $739 million, and that figure will be lower again in 2014. You might say, "Well, what are we giving away in terms of the future?" And the one thing we haven't stopped is development and stripping outputs to make sure that the future plans of the company are not compromised. I lived through $250 gold in 1999, and I saw what we and what the industry did. We pulled back our development significantly, and we never really got it back. We said that we did, but we actually never got it back, and we paid the price. So the important thing is, let's make sure that we retain the structural integrity of our operation. So that's the expenditure or what I call the good cost that we're going to continue spending.

On the economic brownfields projects, we've canceled. The Tarkwa expansion is gone and also the expansions in Peru. We don't see the need to do those in any event at this particular point in time given that our focus is going to be on cash.

General cost savings. Our all-in costs, as I mentioned, reduced by $225 an ounce year-on-year, and our exploration and growth halved essentially from $281 million to $162 million. Now this doesn't mean we're not focused on growth, and we shouldn't walk away from here thinking that Gold Fields is now saying, "We're going to be x growth." We're not x growth. And I think the fact that we are announcing our results in the quarter where we've just bought some new mines, I think, should give you a very clear indication of that. The fact that we're still retaining an exploration focus, principally in the Americas on greenfields and more focused on brownfields in Western Australia, where we've committed $50 million for 2014, gives you a clear indication that we're still focused on growth. But we are very, very focused on the kind of growth that we think can really deliver for us in the short to medium term. We don't see ourselves as having 20 greenfields exploration projects around the world, which is where Gold Fields was in 2012. We're going to be a very different Gold Fields, where we're focused on the countries we want to be and the style of mineralization that we're looking for that will add the best value to us.

Here's our guidance, just to preempt any issues about how did we do relative to what we've promised. And as you can see, we've outperformed on production, and we've outperformed on what we told you we would do in our costs, both cash costs and on all-in NCE for the period. And credit must go to the team for that delivery.

So what is Gold Fields today? We're a 2.2 million-ounce producer spread across 8 operating mines in 4 regions. Australia, as you can see in the pie chart, makes up 43% of our production. Essentially now, we're 1 million-ounce producer in Australia, which makes us either #2 or #3 in the total country, but certainly, #2 in Western Australia. So that's a very significant part of the world for us.

Ghana is 31% and then Peru and South Africa, 13% each. And that's what it is. It's a small corporate office here in Sandton and then 4 empowered regions across the globe. And any growth that we're doing is going to be embodied into those regions. So it's a much simpler, fit-for-purpose structure that's been put in place.

Let's look at our balance sheet, how we feel about that. Our total outstanding debt -- net debt is $1.74 billion. If you annualize the EBITDA figures for quarter 4, that comes out at about 1.5x net debt-to-EBITDA, well within our financial covenants. So there's no real issue on debt. And importantly, our tenor is well structured. Half of that debt is out to 2020, a bullet repayment, where there's no repricing risk. It's a fixed coupon. And then 35% of the debt has 2 years maturity from here. So essentially, 85% of our debt does not have any immediate refinancing issue. And we'll continue to work on trying to improve the tenor and see how we can actually continue to derisk the profile. But the profile, as it stands, is certainly not a risky profile. And we have comfortable committed headroom of $750 million.

Let's go to the operations and have a brief synopsis of where we are. South Deep production for the quarter, marginally off the previous quarter, but very similar, 3,000 ounces down to 79,000 ounces. As I mentioned earlier, the all-in costs have reduced significantly compared to the beginning of the year and also on the previous quarter. And let's take stock of the year overall. We're looking at a 12% increase in production over the year. That's pretty much what we said we would do over the year.

Our destress, and I'll explain the destress in a bit more detail in a moment, which opens up the ore body, is up 24%. And that's on the back of around a 50% increase in the previous year. So that's really doubled over the last couple of years. All-in costs, I've talked about, and we spent a lot of time rightsizing the cost base, and you can see that in the graph on the right-hand side. We've also given you the 2014 guidance. What we intend to achieve, 360,000 ounces. And as you can see, the all-in costs, assuming a ZAR 9.50 exchange rate, we expect those to be below $1,400 in 2014.

We've conducted a detailed review of the buildup of South Deep, as I mentioned, we would do 6 months ago, which has included an independent external peer review. And our view today is we've learned a lot about South Deep over the last few years. Certainly, we need to improve our infrastructure on the ground. We need to improve the availability and utilization of our fleet, and we need to improve our operator skills. Those are the key ingredients into making sure that South Deep will be a success. All of these aspects have and continue to receive attention, and we believe that we have the right team on site for us to deliver this operation. So what we're saying now is that we expect steady state by the end of 2017, a circle run rate, as the Americans call it, of around 300,000 tonnes to 330,000 tonnes of reef tonnes and 650,000 to 700,000 ounces of production. And that should come in at an all-in cost of around about $900 an ounce at about a ZAR 9.50 exchange rate. And what we've done for those of you who want to get more details of how this builds up, we have put a schedule on the website that gives you a more detailed profile as to how we get from where we are, 300,000 ounces, to where we want to get to.

So in essence, we're now operating at around about a half the tonnage that we needed to get to at full production. The average reef tonnage in 2013 was 154,000. So we need to double that in 4 years. And we were at 300,000 ounces, and we need to more than double that in 4 years. And a big kick in that production will come from the long-haul open stoping. And the mix of mining will change from currently around about 30% long-haul open stoping and the balance being benching and drifting and destress. And that will go to 70% long-haul open stoping. And for the nontechnical people in the room, open stoping is a means by way you can significantly improve your volume broken and significantly improve your productivity. And that's where the destress is so important to us.

Let's talk about the destress. We've given you here the last 3 years, what we've achieved on the destress. And as you can see, we have moved significantly up. We didn't quite get as high as we wanted to, though, and that's the reason that we believe it's going to take another 12 months to hit full production. But that destress needs to be at a steady state of that 70,000 per annum, and we need to get to that within 2 years. So if we can hit that within 2 years, then we're going to be okay. And the signs are very good. As you can see, we're not far away. So the trajectory has been very positive, but it wasn't at the momentum that we could say the full production could be secured by 2016.

Let's look at the destress to get a better understanding. What we've put here is we put up the 4 corridors of South Deep, and that strike there is about 1.8-kilometer strike over the 4 corridors. And you can see, this is the destress in light blue that we did pre-2012. And then the red and the purple blocks show what we've done over the last 2 years. And you can see, there's been quite a bit of progress. But more importantly, the heart of the ore body is in the 3 West and 4 West corridors. And that's the more proximal part of the ore body that is closer to the shoreline that sits over here. So this is where you're going to get the higher grades and where you're going to get the bulk of the gold. And we've made the most progress, in fact, on the 4 West corridor. So that's very, very important for us to understand. And then you can see, going forward, we've given you the trajectory over the next 4 years. So that's where we've come through on the destress and where we're going.

Let's just explain the destress in a bit more detail. This is now a section view of what you saw. This is a plan view, if you're looking down on it. So this is a section view, if you're looking on the side of that. And essentially, what the destress is, it's 2.2-meter cuts into the ore body. These are about 120- to 150-meter cuts. And then we put in a vertical slot here that links it up. There's the next cut that goes through. Then we do the follow-on ramps underneath that. Then we do the ore passes and we do the cross-cuts as it goes forward. And this is going into the ore body, which tips at about 8 degrees. So if you look further on, that's where you go from here. This is a typical destress cut and how it advances. You can see that's the next cut over there, and that's how it advances further. And we always continue this advance within the shadow. And you can see, there's a 45-degree dotted line there. And that shows us that we have to continue doing the follow-on development in the shadow of the destress because that helps us to reduce the virgin rock pressures significantly below where they would be otherwise.

And then lastly, you can see, here's the last cut, another cut going down over there. So that gives you an idea of what the destress looks like. And so, the open-stope mining will be done in these areas over here. And we'll do retreat stoping across this area. We'll do one retreat stope and then we have an open void; one retreat stope and we backfill; and then we do the next. And that's how it will work. There's 15 meters between these levels, and these are 120 meters along. So this will be 70% of the mining of South Deep in future.

Now if you want to learn more about South Deep, there is a mine visit taking place Tuesday next week, I think it is, Willie? Tuesday next week. So we're going to have a detailed presentation from the mine management, and we're going to have an underground tour for those of you who can join us. And I believe a lot of people are coming.

Right, let's move on to West Africa, to Ghana. Excellent performance from Tarkwa. Over the quarter, 160,000 ounces for the quarter. All-in costs below $1,100. And I think the achievement here that I think has been really good is that the cost base has been reduced in anticipation of the closure of the heap leach operations. So we've managed to get costs out of the system ahead of that. That has been closed down at the end of December. So we have quite a bit of fleet parked up, which is still in good nick. So I'm sure we'll find a source to deploy that into, into the future. But for now, that's parked up.

One of the big benefits of closing the heap leach, just to remind you, is we're getting deeper into the pits. The ore is less porous, is less amenable to heap leaching. And so, the recoveries have been declining steadily over the last 5 years from about 70% to 75% dissolutions to around about 50%. Instead of getting 50% recoveries, we're going to take that same gold, put it through the plant and get 96% recoveries. So in fact, over time, we should be able to recover more gold by actually going the CIL option only. Remember, we got a 12 million tonne a year CIL plant, and that will continue to be the base of our production for the future.

So with that, we've dropped our guidance to next year to 520,000 ounces for Tarkwa. And all-in costs around about $1,100, which is lower than the all-in costs for 2013. I think that gives you an idea of what we've done, even with continued mining inflation. By closing the heap leach and restructuring the cost base, we're managing to reduce the overall costs. So Tarkwa used to be about a 135 million tonne a year operation or 450,000 tonnes a day. It's now going to be about a 90 million tonne a year operation. So a fundamental change in that, but it will be more profitable and more cash generative to us on the basis of the new format.

If we look at Damang, as I mentioned, a massive turnaround of that operation. And we've dropped our cost by $500 per ounce quarter-on-quarter. We've done a lot of soul searching, a lot of modeling, a lot of work to try to understand what we should do at Damang. And I think the one thing that's come home to me, certainly, and talking to some of my peers in the global gold industry, a not-too-dissimilar view is being reached by other CEOs in the gold industry is that we're going to go smaller and more incremental in our approach to ore bodies. And the original approach to the greater Damang ore body was going to be to, let's try and extract to 6 million to 7 million ounce ore body, containing 700 million tonnes of material with a strip ratio of about 6:1. That's wonderful once you've finished spending all the money on the strip, but you might find that you're going to be spending a lot of money before you get to the good stuff. And the other thing is, there may be some risk in that approach.

So our approach now is going to be to digest the elephant in smaller portions, and that's where I think we'll learn as we go. So the approach at the moment is for us to really look at the higher-grade parts of the ore body. Juno is the principal focus at the moment and that will continue for a while. And judiciously going into the Saddle area, which is adjacent to the original pit to the north, and then Huni, and employing different mining techniques because the ore body has changed. The ore body is now more discrete. It's not as disseminated as it was before. And we have to make sure we really understand the controls and the mineralization and the differentiation between ore and waste. So selective mining is the key word here. Reducing dilution, I think there's been a lot of good work. And we finally now have done all the work we needed to do to make sure that the plant is going to be sustainable over the long term at somewhere around 4 million tonnes a year, and it can take anything now that we throw at it. Previously, we were concerned that we had to blend into the plant. We needed a mix of fresh material and oxides. We're now very comfortable that we can throw 100% fresh if we want to, and we can still get 4 million tonnes through it, and that's because we've invested in secondary crushing capabilities.

And let's not forget the potential of Damang. And here's the mineralized trend that we have, around about 17 kilometers of strike. Here's the original pit here in the middle. There's Huni to the north. There is Juno to the south. So this was the greater Damang pit, the 3-kilometer strike. So we're concentrating on mining at the moment in Juno. We're doing some in the Saddle, and we'll be doing some in Huni. But we're not stripping the entire pit to expose all the ore. We're doing it bit by bit. There's potential extension to Juno here in Nyame. And some of the old satellite pits that we mined years ago, we're seeing now that there's extensions here at Tomento North. There's probably another 500 meters of strike and also at Amoanda. And those pits were last assessed when gold price was $400 to $500 an ounce. So it's $1,300. We see lots of opportunities here for satellite pits to help augment this production. We think that there's good potential for this mineralized trend to actually extend to Tarkwa in the south here. That's about 30 kilometers south, and link it all the way up here. But we just haven't spent the exploration time and dollars over the last 10 years to either prove or refute that theory. That will be one of the focus areas over the next 5 to 10 years. So there's a lot of opportunity at Damang. And our view is we're not going to walk away from this. We're going to make this work.

So the way forward is we now have an economic reserve of 1 million ounces, 1.1 million ounces at $1,300. Last year, that figure was 4 million ounces. The gold price is the main factor in that reduction. Because as you can see, the resource is still very strong at 6.6 million ounces. So we've got something to play with. We've got 5, 6 years to play with. So our plan is to say, "Okay. Let's mine this and make money." And at the same time, let's see if we can continue to optimize the longer term and see how we can convert some of that resource to reserve over the next number of years. And key to all of this is going to be the basics of mining, the 101s of mining, and that's going to be a key focus of Alfred and his team.

Windfall tax, as you've seen, the president of Davos said that's off the table, so we welcome that. And the platform has been set up for the future. The quarter 4 performance is giving us confidence that Damang can make it.

Let's move to Australia. St. Ives, another good performance for the quarter. At St. Ives, 104,000 ounces; all-in costs of under USD 1,100 an ounce. And I think, also, you can see the good work that's been done in dropping the cost base over the year at St. Ives. And what's particularly interesting now about this asset is the upside that we see. We've got something called Invincible that we think is the next big mine at St. Ives. And we're seeing over here that we have 1.3 million ounces of resource and 0.5 million ounces of reserve. We think that has potential to be about 2 million ounces. And we will get that to feasibility stage, hopefully by the end of this year and possibly start stripping during the course of 2015. And then Neptune, we're already stripping that. That's the next-generation pit, and that's got 580,000 ounces of resource and 300,000 ounces of reserve. But importantly, look at the grades here. These will initially be open pittable mines at very, very good grades. And that's certainly going to help St. Ives to change its cost profile.

Guidance, as you can see here, 395,000 ounces at USD 1,150 all-in costs for next year. But we're having an eye on the future here. Now I think this shows -- a lot of people said, "Why did you buy the Yilgarn South assets?" And the reason we bought them is because we see the opportunities here at St. Ives replicating themselves at those operations. And between St. Ives and Agnew that we've earned for 11 years, we've mined about 8 million ounces. And you can see the next-generation mines are in sight, and that's going to certainly add more to what's there. So these mines just tend to keep going.

Let's look briefly at Invincible. So what have we got here? We got about a 2.2-kilometer strike over here. This red line shows the resource shelf that we've done at AUD 1,570, and the blue line shows the potential inventory, taking into account what we know is there. So there's more confidence in this stuff at this stage. But you can see some of the drill holes here. And in particular, at depth, this is 1,300 meters down, and we're still finding good mineralization. This is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai building. So that gives you an idea of the depth of the ore body. And this is still open at strike. So a very, very exciting ore body that was undercover, and that's why we didn't find it. You don't find these ores with AeroMax [ph] servers. You have to drill through cover to find it. And also, this was in a perpendicular shear zone to the main shear zones, and that's why we didn't find it initially. But this is certainly something that's exciting for the future.

Now the other thing is these will be on the lake. For those of you who have been out to St. Ives, we have a salt lake that goes through the lease. You can see, here is the Lefroy plant over here. And Invincible is on the lake over there. And Neptune is on the lake. So this will be lake mining. We've done that before. We don't see any particular issue. I think the only thing is the logistics. Do we have a conveyor system over here? Do we have a separate causeway? Or do we take it to this causeway and across? So we don't see any problem in doing that. Salt lakes are very common in Western Australia.

Let's go to Agnew/Lawlers. Again, here you can see the impact of the Yilgarn deal. We've taken our production up from 45,000 ounces to 74,000 ounces, all-in costs of $929 per ounce. That implementation of the merger has been finished pretty much. Some optimization still to be garnered out of that, but by and large, we don't -- we closed the plant in the first week at Lawlers. So all of the material that we mine is now being trucked across from Lawlers to the Agnew plant, which by the way is right next to where they were mining. They had to go longer distances to their plant. We've reduced the overheads, about a 14% cut in people. And there's more synergies, certainly, here that we can realize between the 2 mines, but it's only been 3 months. So next year, we see about 260,000 ounces, about USD 1,100 an ounce. And that's what we expect to do. More exploration, as well, has been factored into next year to see the longer-term benefits of these ore bodies.

Let's look briefly at Waroonga, which is the Agnew leg of this ore body. And just to reorientate ourselves, here's the old Waroonga open pit. It looks like a bath. That's all mined up. The portal leg comes from the base of the pit. And this is the principal ore source at the moment, Kim. You can see the red area is all the mined-out areas, and now we're down to here. And this is the area we've developed, and this is the further extension of the ore body. But what's interesting is we're seeing a replication of Kim to the eastern side at Kath Upper, and this is only really 100 meters apart. It's right there. Kath itself and then Waroonga North looks like an analogue of the Kim ore body. It's in another shear zone. So that could be another ore body. We've got some drill results we're looking.

This is the other exciting piece is we got a Link here that looks like it contains about 10 to 15 grams. And the FBH area is being well defined already for a couple of years. That's a high-grade area, too. And it looks like this whole area may coalesce into something much bigger. And again, I think it gives you an indication as to the potential longevity that we see on these operations.

Looking at New Holland/Genesis. This is the Lawlers Complex. First of all, here's an aerial photo. You can see over here, that's the old Genesis pit that's mined out. The new Holland that's mined out, Hidden Secret. Now if you flip that on the side and sort of look through it, you see here's the Hidden Secret pit over there. These are the exploration targets for 2014. And this is about a 3-kilometer distance over here. So we're going to be looking at exploration here, the 200 Series, the 500 Series and over there. And we're mining really just to the left of this over here. But all of this is mineralized. And then there's another load and another load underneath that. So we believe that this has the potential for about a 3-kilometer strike with multiple loads. And so we're just trying to first get our arms around the potential -- the near-term potential over here and over here. So that gives you an idea of what lies ahead and why we bought this mine, in particular, from Barrick.

Darlot. We took Darlot as part of the deal from Barrick because it was part of the package. We didn't value it as such. But we decided when we took it that we needed to give ourselves some time and see what this thing could do. It was a $1,600 to $1,700 an ounce operation, so it was losing money when we got it. And we've started restructuring it, focusing on not just filling the plant with tonnes, but actually filling the plant with quality tonnes. And the grade has improved. And we dropped the costs, as you can see, already in one quarter, down to $1,132 an ounce. So Darlot has actually been turned around and is no longer in the position it was in. So I think this buys us time. We're going to be putting in quite a bit of exploration effort to see what we can get on the site. So they got a nice budget for next year that we've given them. But at the same time, even with that exploration, they're still going to have to cover their costs. They're not going to be allowed to be on a cash-negative basis. So we've turned it around. We've given them some upside, and we'll take stock, I guess, towards the end of the year and see where we stand. But I think at this stage, we could probably mine for at least 2 years, maybe a bit longer. But we've got optionality, and we've got time to find other opportunities, both at depth on the existing underground operation and on the lease.

Granny Smith, 62,000 ounces in the maiden quarter in Gold Fields, all-in costs of USD 888 per ounce. We've done our restructuring on this mine. We've reduced our workforce as well, given the integration into Gold Fields. This is only using half its plant capacity. The plant capacity is 3 million tonnes a year. We're only using about 1.5 million tonnes of that capacity because we used to do some toll treating for a neighbor. We've stopped doing that. So we do have the capacity to expand this operation if we want to, and that's something we'll be thinking about in the future. But we think we can do about 240,000 ounces a year or just over USD 1,000 all-in costs. So this is a truly world-class operation.

Here's the exploration potential. So what are we looking at here? It's an underground operation. There's the pit. And it's an intrusive with multiple stacked lodes at about 150-meter intervals. And at the moment, we are mining the Z70, Z80 and Z90 lodes. We're developing the Z100 lode. And by the way, this gets replicated another 5 or 6 lodes. And what's interesting as we get deeper, you can see that the grades are getting higher. And the other thing is the lateral extension is getting wider. We're finding that it's almost coming down like this. So it's getting wider at depth. So clearly, there needs to be more work done to determine the true potential of the Wallaby underground operation. But certainly, it looks exciting. We're going to be spending some more exploration dollars.

What also really interested us here is they consistently have a positive reconciliation on their old mine versus the grade control and versus their model. We are getting into the higher grade parts of the ore body. And the other thing is we are looking at a study to see if we can optimize the extraction. Now we don't need to use Paceful [ph] here because the ground conditions are very competent. But at the same time, we're using a room-and-pillar mining method. So if we could actually adopt Paceful [ph], we may be able to improve the ore extraction ratio. And that's particularly relevant when the ore body is getting closer to 10 grams a tonne at depth, so there's an exciting opportunity for us. We'll keep looking at that, but that's all potential upside. And each of these lodes at depth could be 1 million ounces by themselves.

Okay, let's move on to Peru. Cerro Corona continues to perform exceptionally well, and we did 79,000 ounces during the quarter at equivalent all-in costs of $707 per ounce. And I think you all recognize the ongoing quality of this operation. Clearly, the grades have declined somewhat as we expected they would. But that said, we keep on getting a positive reconciliation out of Cerro Corona, so we're very confident of the future here. We have replanned our capital going forward. We were going to take the tails down, up to beyond 3,800 to 3,815, which is another 15 meters. That was going to give us another 1 million ounces over life. But it was going to cost us about $300 million over life to do it. And so what we've done is we've taken that out. We don't lose the optionality of doing that in the future. But for now, that's not something we're going to be doing. And that's really going to help us to keep the costs down and make sure that this is a quality asset for the next 10 years and probably beyond that.

So looking at our guidance. It's all in the book, but we are projecting a 10% increase in production, 2.2 million ounces at all-in costs of about $1,150. And just to bear in mind, that also includes -- that $1,150 there includes about $20 or so for growth around the globe, the best exploration and other projects we're doing. So that $20 you could take out if you just wanted to get back to the core operations and see what that's going to do for us. That's all in the book. But anyway, there's a heads-up of a consolidation, if you like, of all of the numbers that I've gone through. I'll leave that with you.

So in conclusion, I think we've continued over 2013 to transform Gold Fields into a truly global producer. It's been a very, very busy year for us. We concluded the Sibanye unbundling at the beginning of the year, and I'm delighted that they're doing as well as they're doing because that was why we did it. That was the basis of doing it was to give 2 pieces of paper to our shareholders and to put the destiny of those mines in the hands of the management team and let them make it work for the benefit of shareholders. I think they're doing that, and well done to Neal Froneman and his team.

Delivery of South Deep is a top priority. Things have gone slower than we would've liked. But that said, we're very confident on the ore body, and we're very confident on our approach, and we believe that we can make this work, albeit it's going to take a little longer. And as I said earlier, our focus is going to be, let's make money. If we can make money, we can look at growth. All of the options open up for us. We can pay more dividends to shareholders, and hopefully, we can get some improvement in our total shareholder return.

Thank you very much. I think with that, we're going to hand it over to Willie for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Excellent, thank you. If you could just indicate if you want to ask a question, we will send the microphone around to you. Let's start here in the front with Allan. And then after, we will go down the line. Thanks, Allan. Can you just switch on the microphone for us, please? And just say your name as well, please.

Allan J. Cooke - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

It's Allan Cooke from JPMorgan. Just going back to what you said about planning at $1,300 an ounce and the impairment testing and the new mine plans that were done over the last little while. Could you let us know what the discount rate was, specifically, that you used? You said you changed gold price from $1,500 to $1,300 and also discount rates. What is the discount rate that you're using? And it goes to hurdle rates -- I'm sorry, if this is a long question. And how are you evaluating your pipeline of projects -- I'm not sure what's left in the pipeline -- and make decisions, like at Cerro Corona, not to do the lift that there are a number of other decisions being made? What is the hurdle rate, and what is the discount rate? How are you evaluating new growth projects and existing expansions within the group? And I ask that question with reserve replacement in mind. How are you going to go about replacing reserves in your project pipeline at your existing assets within the framework of that basis? And then, the next question is kind of a bearish question, I guess. You're planning at $1,300 an ounce. If gold goes to $1,100 or $1,000, how will those plans change? And what will the group do further to maintain profitability, to maintain your positive free cash flow margin that you currently enjoy?

Nicholas John Holland

Okay. I'll -- let me deal with the 2 parts of your question, and then I'll ask Paul to deal with the impairments specifically. One of the important things that's implicit in our planning for 2014 is not to plan our business at a breakeven $1,300 price. It's to plan our business to make a margin at $1,300. So we've looked at each of our assets, and we've said, now we would like to try and make a 15% margin if we can, cash margin, after everything -- taxes, the lot -- if we can at $1,300. Now some of the assets get there, and some need to get there. But the point is, everyone is being looked at. Australia is basically there, we believe. Peru is basically there. Tarkwa's there. Damang is in transition. And South Deep, as we know, we're trying to get it to breakeven as a start. So if gold goes back to, say, $1,100, then, and I was sitting here in front of you, I'd being saying to you, "Well, at this stage, we're going to be probably breakeven." I think we're going to be hanging on like everybody else. And I would want to keep developing the mines underground and in the open pits to make sure that we could have a future. But I think if the gold price goes to $1,100, the industry won't be making any money. I think we'll all be treading ground as we were -- or treading water, rather, as we were in 1999. How long will it be at $1,100? Your guess is as good as mine. But certainly, it will shake out a whole bunch of the industry. So we got an in-built protection factor at $1,300 because we thought about that, too. Some people say gold could go lower before it goes higher. We're prepared for that. So we don't need to build an emergency plan. It's in -- built into our numbers. In terms of looking at whether we spend money or don't spend money on expansions, acquisitions, developments, typically, I think we want to get a double-digit return at robust technical parameters. In other words, valuing what we see and not valuing all of the blue sky and upside potential. And a good case in point, a good case study, if you like, is the Yilgarn South acquisition. Where essentially, it's a 4-year reserve life on average for those assets. We valued the reserves. We didn't value the upside. But in order to motivate this to our board, we had to have upside. And frankly, if we didn't have any upside, I wouldn't want to waste our time. I wouldn't want to waste time buying mines with a 4-year life. I think we can do better with our money. We see these mines going for significantly longer than that. But we only valued the reserves. We used a conservative gold price, $1,300 price tick. We used a conservative exchange rate in Australia, and we used the double-digit returns. So that's how we look to that. And I don't see us looking at other things fundamentally different to that. And that's why we've made the decisions on some of the brownfield projects, and why they're not going anymore because they just don't get over the hurdle rate. I'll hand over to Paul to talk about the impairment, specifically.

Paul A. Schmidt

Allan, the -- we use our WACC model to calculate the discount rate, but we use different WACCs for each region. And that has to take into account, obviously, country risk, the risk-free rate in that country, country risk, as well as the detail of the industry that we applied. For South Africa, we'd used a pretax rate and the reason why we did a pretax rate in South Africa is because of the massive unredeemed capital that we have. We used 11.5% pretax rate for South Africa. For the rest of the group, we used an after-tax rate, 8% in Ghana, 5.2% in Australia and 6% in Cerro Corona.

Steve A. Shepherd - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Are those real?

Paul A. Schmidt

Those are real.

Nicholas John Holland

And all of these are agreed -- have to be agreed with our auditors.

Paul A. Schmidt

Except -- Steve, South Africa is nominal; 11.5% is nominal. The rest are real.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Good. Can we move on to Andrew Byrne, please?

Andrew Byrne - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Andrew Byrne from Barclays. Two questions, if I may. First of all, with this -- with the impairment that we've seen this quarter, what would that have been if we'd have used, say, $1,200 per ounce gold price? How sensitive is this? And are there other assets that were then fallen into the impairments? That's the first one. And then secondly, is it possible you could give us an update with regards the SEC investigation just in terms of the potential timeline and exactly what's included in the investigation, please?

Nicholas John Holland

I'll do number two.

Paul A. Schmidt

So you want to do number two? We ran some sensitivities from $1,250 to $1,350 on the impairment, but we didn't come to a total for the -- $1,300 was our number. But sometimes, it's not gold price that they're sensitive to. It could be discount rates in some other countries, sensitive to exchange rates. Australia is very, very sensitive to the Aussie dollar-U.S. dollar exchange rate when you run your model. So I can't give you exact numbers at $1,200. We only ran from $1,250 to $1,350 in our sensitivity analysis as we were doing it for the board. But we didn't total that up; $1,300 was our number, and those were the answers that we've come out with.

Nicholas John Holland

Okay. I think there's -- the best way to deal with your second question is there's a paragraph in the book on Page 19, but I'll read the important paragraph to you. Obviously, we know that there's an SEC investigation. Given the early stage of this investigation, it is not possible to determine what the ultimate outcome of this investigation, any regulatory findings and any related developments may have on the Company. So that's all we can tell you at this stage.

Andrew Byrne - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Do you have any idea on timing [indiscernible]?

Nicholas John Holland

We have no idea on timing.

Patrick Mann - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

It's Patrick Mann from Deutsche Bank. Two quick questions. The first one really just a clarification. South Deep at steady state by the end of 2017, do you mean that the first year of your full steady-state production would be 2018 then? And then, just secondly, on your CapEx rationalization program and talking about not compromising on development and stripping. Could you please just reconcile that with your revised plans at Damang and stopping the stripping and focusing on the higher-grade areas, please?

Nicholas John Holland

Yes, so in terms of the second question on Damang, the reason we're stopping is that we weren't sure that we were going to make a return at $1,300 an ounce. When we looked at Damang earlier, we were assessing Damang at $1,500. And it makes a big difference when you look at the $1,300. So that's really price-related. And we decided, therefore, that the ore body may actually be better than what we thought it was at $1,500. But we don't want to tackle this as one big project to start with. So we go stage by stage. We do it incrementally. But the important thing is, it's not an option on the gold price. It has to actually fly at $1,300. Because the problem with the gold price going up is that regrettably, other things go up with it. And there is a high correlation with oil. There is a high correlation with steel and cement and other imports. So our view today is that whatever long-term strategy we adopt at Damang has got to fly at $1,300. We're confident that we've got 5 years that works at $1,300. And I think, over time, as we learn more, we'll be able to engineer a lot of the resource into reserve at $1,300 as well. But the danger is, and it's back to the point about marginal production that we've been talking about previously, the danger of pushing up your production and lowering your grade at higher prices is that it tends to destroy value, and we don't want to get to that scenario. So that's how we reconcile that. You're correct. The run rate I've given is at the end of 2017. So therefore, 2018 would be the first full year at those levels of production.

Christopher Nicholson - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

It's Chris Nicholson from RMB Morgan Stanley. Two questions. I guess, the first question is if we could just step back on South Deep, I remember maybe you said this a couple of years ago, total CapEx budget, I think, in real terms was about ZAR 8 billion for the South Deep expansion in real terms. How much of that have we spent to date? With the timelines getting pushed out, how much remains? That's the first question. Second question, I know you've given [indiscernible] for Damang. Could you give us an indication of what the total reserve write-down would be across the international assets because there's no impairments at South Deep from what I can see?

Nicholas John Holland

Yes. The second question is going to be easy to answer. Those numbers are not yet finalized. So we'll put them out in the annual report, which will go in next month. So those figures will go in there, and you'll see the numbers in there. I think on South Deep, if you look at the website, we've given you the future capital that we expect to spend. And you can reconcile that against what we've spent to date. But we're tracking very well on the capital. The capital has not been the issue. And certainly, all of the money we spent on the fixed infrastructure projects, the vent shaft, the plant expansion, the full plant -- tailings plant, refrigeration capacity [ph] has all tracked very well. So it's not that we have spent more to get the infrastructure. I think our issue on South Deep has been just taking longer to do the destress and longer to open up the haulages into the future. But if you look at the last 4 years, we have tracked very well against what we've said we're going to spend, and we're within around about 12%. And there was no contingency put into those numbers to start with, so we tracked very well. So I think the key thing is going to be, for us, to ensure that we get the capital spend going forward, and that will deliver the mine. But we're probably around about 3/4 of the way through to what we need to be on the South Deep capital. So the resolution there has been pretty good. But I think to help you, if you look at the historic spend, which is -- it's out there, and you look at what we put on the website, you can get a feel for what the capital has been and what it will be over the next 5, 6 years.

Paul A. Schmidt

Yes, just to add to that, we've said that the sustaining capital is about $1.3 billion going forward. So effectively, from the schedule that's on the web, from 2015 onwards, if you take $1.3 billion off that number, that is basically still part of the regional capital project. But from there onwards, that is standing numbers. So we view the delta, and that's how we've split South Deep into growth capital and sustaining; $1.3 billion is deemed to be sustaining. The difference is growth.

Nicholas John Holland

But the total numbers are there. So you can you see, well, we've decided not to try and split those out. We've just given you the complete profile, but that would obviously include the ongoing capital.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Okay. Thank you, Chris. We go to Derryn.

Derryn Maade - HSBC, Research Division

It's Derryn Maade from HSBC. Sorry, but we seem to be doing South Deep to death today. I've got just another question on that. Behind the delays to the destress plan, what are the key factors that have impacted on these delays? And do you see the -- how are you mitigating these factors going forward? And what is the confidence that you have in the new plan? Because over the last few years, it seems to have been somewhat of a moving and diminishing feast.

Nicholas John Holland

Yes, as I said in the presentation, if I take you back to the slide, the key issues were to make sure that we have the ore-handling infrastructure in place. Now things like ore passes, making sure that the haulages are supported, that we have extra ramps to debottleneck the operation. We've done a lot of that work already. In fact, we commissioned 2 new ore passes before Christmas, and there's 2 more new ore passes coming through in the first half of this year. The second thing was equipment availability and utilization. We're in the process of debottlenecking our 5 underground workshops. We're doing that. We've got a brand new workshop that we've essentially finished blasting up, which is, imagine 2 football fields underground and, in fact, I walked into one corridor in December. It's about 200 meters' walk across and walked that way, perpendicular. That will be commissioned this time next year at the very latest, and we're trying to fast-track that as well. So that will help us to make sure we can split out the different components of the equipment maintenance. We're trying to do everything in a confined space, from tire change, oil change, major long-life services. We're going to split those all out. So that will make a big difference as well. And then we are training our operators and re-skilling our operators, coaching them. We got a new Trackless Training Center. If you come on a visit on Tuesday, you'll see it. New trackless mining training center, that's already been commissioned. So we're going to be upgrading the skills of the operators and the artisans and technicians. So we got very good projects underway to make sure all of that happens, and we're already seeing some of the benefits of that so -- the other thing is the productivity rates that we're factoring in are still quite modest by benches but -- now we want to try and put a plan down that we're confident of delivering on, and we're confident of delivering on this plan.

Derryn Maade - HSBC, Research Division

And can you just update us on the land claims in Western Australia?

Nicholas John Holland

There's nothing new to tell you other than the press release we went out with. Essentially, it's not a land claim, as such. It's not that land is at risk. It's a question mark on the process followed on the award of tenements, which predates the time that we earned St. Ives. We don't believe these claims are based on any foundation, and we've got legal advice that supports our view on that. This has to go to the Federal Court of Australia. I think it's slated to go at the end of next month. But it is subject to an appeal process. And obviously, both sides will be giving their own views of things, and there'll be time for deliberation. So we don't know the timeframe. It's not within our control. And as I say, with an appeal process, it's likely that it could go on for even longer than that.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Thanks, Derryn. Benjamin, are there any questions from the webcast?


The first question comes from Kane Slutzkin from UBS.

Kane Slutzkin - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Just touching on your exploration projects, you disposed of Talas in December 2013. You still have several others that are up for sale. Can you provide some color on as to how that's progressing, whether you're seeing advertising in the market? And has anything changed, in your mind? Would you make -- what would make you want to retain any specific project for its optionality?

Nicholas John Holland

Now all I can say is we continue to test the market and have tested the market on a number of these opportunities. Talas, we disposed of, as you've indicated. But right now, we don't have anything new to say other than if we can't secure reasonable deals for these assets, we won't give them away. And we will, therefore, keep the holding costs to a minimum during the period we have to hold them. And there's some very, very substantial assets, 15 million ounces of 2 PGE plus gold at APP alone with significant copper and nickel credits. It's certainly worth a lot of money to someone into the future. So if we have to bide our time, we're quite happy to be patient. So we don't -- haven't changed any views on them. But the key consideration for us is how we can extract the best value and whether we have to wait longer for them. If we have to, we will.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Time for one more question here. We will just see if somebody else needs one. Okay. We'll come to you.

Adrian Hammond - BNP Paribas, Research Division

It's Adrian Hammond with BNP Cadiz. I have 2 questions on South Deep. Firstly, what sort of phase time are you getting up to phase relative to your targets? And I'll wait for the second one.

Nicholas John Holland

Yes. Phase time, we know we're probably around about 14 hours a day. We're not quite where we want to be yet. It's still taking us quite a bit of time to get people to the phase. It's taking time to get people through the muster room and through the safety process before the shift. And so there is work we've got to do to improve that. So yes, we've improved by around about 25% from where we were. And that's evidenced in the fact that the reef tonnes in 2013 were 26% higher than the reef tonnes in 2012. But we think there's more that we can get. So it's an optimization process. We certainly didn't think that it was all going to happen at once. It would take to deliver, but we're making good progress. But yes, we're not where we want to be yet.

Adrian Hammond - BNP Paribas, Research Division

Just on working costs quickly. You're targeting 360,000 ounces this year. Just talk to us about how you get there and impact on the working cost. Are you going to deploy more -- or employ more stoping teams? And I guess that talks a bit to the development you're expecting to ramp up to as well.

Nicholas John Holland

We've got more than enough people right now and more than enough gear to mine a lot more than what we're mining, okay? So we got more than enough people. We got more than enough fleet. So there's no issue with that. The key, again, to all of this is for us to ensure that we get our equipment availabilities up, that we get the mining cycle improved. We enhance the operator skills. We've got good initiatives underway to deal with all of that. And that's the key ingredients for us to get this. We don't need more people. We don't need more gear. We just need to improve what we're doing.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Thank you very much, Adrian. We'll take the last question from the conference call. Do you have one, Benjamin?

Paul A. Schmidt

Can we just check on the conference call if there's a question?


There are no questions in the conference call.

Jan Willie Jacobsz

Super. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. That brings to an end this part of the proceedings. We invite you to have some refreshments with us downstairs. And the media, if you could join us in the boardroom downstairs, for the roundtable. Thank you very much.

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