LOSING South African operations executive, Nico Muller, to Impala Platinum was a body blow to Gold Fields CEO, Nick Holland’s aspirations for South Deep, the asset Muller was hired to manage. One wonders, however, what lies in store for South Deep: the under-performing asset – the last of the great Witwatersrand gold orebodies – which is due to report new reserve and production targets in February. Holland’s heavy spend on finding gold elsewhere on the globe could be construed as a pre-emptive strike if South Deep unveils a significantly lower life of mine and lower annual production numbers. Certainly Holland’s merger and acquisition team came out swinging in 2016. In unison with a resurgent gold price, the company allocated spend of $1.4bn over eight years at the Damang mine in Ghana, and pledged $268m for a 50% participation in the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia. A further joint $1bn bid may also be made for Kirkland Gold if that firm’s shareholders reject its expansion proposals. Holland has also been linked with a bid for AngloGold Ashanti’s Iduapriem. This corporate activity may also say something about Gold Fields’ depleted resources in its established Australian gold mines. Holland is a confident thought leader and thinks the gold price must make a positive step-change in order to encourage supply.
LIFE OF NICK
With his B.Acc and B.Com from the University of Witwatersrand, chartered accountant Nick Holland has been with Gold Fields for about 20 years and was its CFO under previous CEO Ian Cockeril. He worked in financial oversight positions at Gencor, an early incarnation of Gold Fields.
“We are not spending enough to sustain the industry.”
- Web Address: www.goldfields.co.za