Gold Fields South Deep Labor Issues Shouldn’t Affect Target

Gold Fields Ltd., the fourth-largest producer of the metal, said labor issues at its South Deep operation in South Africa won’t affect the mine’s build-up to a run-rate of 700,000 ounces a year by the end of 2015.

“We don’t believe the target will be impacted,” Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland said on a conference call today.

The management at South Deep has been in talks with unions for several months regarding a new operating model that will improve performance at the mine, enabling it to create 400 full-time positions immediately and as many as 1,500 by the end of 2015, it said in a statement today.

Gold Fields and the National Union of Mineworkers couldn’t reach an agreement on the proposal, with the company issuing a section 189 notice in terms of the Labour Relations Act warning about 2,384 employees of possible dismissals based on operational needs. The act states that the employer and unions can have up to 60 days of mediated talks after issuing the 189 notice before the company is allowed to dismiss workers.

“If the prescribed period is followed I don’t think it will be an issue to the build-up,” Holland said.

The NUM is the biggest representative of workers at the operation, the company said in the statement.

Gold Fields increased 1.3 percent to 108.57 rand by 12:10 p.m. in Johannesburg, paring its drop this year to 13 percent.