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Africa’s Biggest Gold Deposit Becomes Burden as Prices Plunge

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After production delays and fatal accidents, the plunging price of bullion is making Africa’s richest gold deposit the biggest burden for owner Gold Fields Ltd. And the bond market’s taking note.

The 81 million-ounce resource at South Deep near Johannesburg is still burning cash after Gold Fields bought it for $3 billion in 2006. The mine has helped lift the company’s break-even price to $1,105 an ounce, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Yields on the company’s bonds climbed to a six-month high during July as gold fell 6.7 percent to $1,093 an ounce.