Gold Fields Falls Most in More Than 6 Years as Output Drops

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Gold Fields Ltd., the South African miner with operations from Peru to Australia, dropped the most in more than six years after posting a second consecutive quarterly loss as output declined 10 percent.

Production fell to 501,000 ounces in the three months to March 31, giving a loss of $13.9 million, compared with a $25.5 million loss the previous quarter, the Johannesburg-based company said Thursday in a statement. The stock retreated 13 percent to 44.28 rand by the 5 p.m. close in the city, the biggest drop since October 2008.

Production decreased at all Gold Fields’ major operating regions including Peru, Australia and South Africa. A slow ramp-up in South Africa after Christmas also cut output.

“We planned to be lower this quarter in accordance with mine scheduling,” Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland said in an interview, referring to the extra time taken to reach new ore bodies.

Gold Fields maintained its annual production forecast of 2.2 million ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,055 an ounce.

That “indicates we’re not going to continue at the level of production we have had in quarter one,” Holland said. “Sometimes mining is not a linear process in each quarter.”

Gold is barely changed this year, providing little relief for mining companies suffering from a 29 percent drop in the precious metal since the beginning of 2013. It declined 0.7 percent to $1,183.62 an ounce on Thursday.

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