Gold Fields Lowers Production Guidance Due to Adverse Weather in Chile

Major miner Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) revised its 2024 gold production downward on Thursday (June 13), saying that severe winter weather conditions have affected its Salares Norte asset in Chile.

Salares Norte, located in Northern Chile, has encountered challenges due to early and prolonged winter weather. This has led to the freezing of materials in the piping of the process plant, causing temporary shutdowns.

The unforeseen weather conditions have disrupted the ramp-up phase, forcing the company to revise its output targets.

Gold Fields initially set a goal of 220,000 to 240,000 gold equivalent ounces for 2024 at Salares Norte. However, the adverse weather has necessitated a revision of this target to a range of 90,000 to 180,000 gold equivalent ounces.

The lower end of the revised range, 90,000 ounces, assumes no production until the end of August, with only subsystem testing occurring during this period. In this case, full ramp-up activities would resume on September 1, with the hope that there would be no significant weather events causing further multi-day stoppages.

The higher end of the range, 180,000 ounces, assumes that ramp-up activities will be able resume by June 15, without significant weather interruptions. Circuit C commissioning would be fully operational by August.

Despite the setbacks, the company has restarted operations at Salares Norte's plant.

In light of the revised production forecast for Salares Norte, Gold Fields has adjusted its overall group production guidance for this year. The company now expects group production to be in the range of 2.2 million to 2.3 million gold equivalent ounces, down from the previous range of 2.33 million to 2.43 million ounces.

Additionally, the company has updated its cost guidance. All-in costs for the group in 2024 are now expected to be between US$1,675 and US$1,740 per ounce, up from the previous range of US$1,600 to US$1,650. All-in sustaining costs have been revised up to US$1,470 to US$1,530 per ounce, compared to US$1,410 to US$1,460.

Beyond the operational challenges at Salares Norte, Gold Fields continues to focus on its environmental responsibilities. The company is engaged in a Chinchilla capture and relocation program at Salares Norte, which has recently faced regulatory scrutiny. The Chilean Superintendence of Environment has issued temporary suspensions on certain activities related to the program, extending the suspension period by an additional 120 days.

Gold Fields remains committed to the safe capture and relocation of the protected Chinchilla species, working closely with regulatory authorities and environmental experts to comply with all requirements.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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