Glittering results from Gold Fields, the world’s fourth-largest producer of the precious metal, as it reported a 15 percent rise in quarterly profit with bullion prices at record levels.
The company stuck to its full-year production target of 3.5 and 3.7 million ounces, though analysts said that would be tough to meet, given safety-related stoppages and the impact of a strike in South Africa.
Safety remains a concern. The company said 13 workers were killed in the first six months of the year, up from 11 in the same period in 2010.
Asked why that was chief executive Nick Holland said: “I can’t put my finger on it to be honest. We’ve been doing a lot of the same things that have proven successful for us over the last two years and yet for some reason we’ve just had a very bad round and I know that it’s not sustainable for the operations.”
He said safety stoppages linked to these fatalities had cost the group about 1,200 kg or roughly 42,000 ounces in lost output in the first six months of 2011.
South Africa’s mines are the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world, and authorities typically shut operations for several days after a fatality.