IN a checklist of ticks, the most obvious omission for Nick Holland is South Deep – a mine that still feels like a project after more than a decade of operation. In truth, it has become a long-standing headache for Nick & Company. Asked whether it was time to ditch the investment in South Deep – it has absorbed R29bn in capital outlay and its latest mining plan requires a further R2bn – Holland replied he was “determined” to make it work. Holland has achieved much as CEO of Gold Fields, and recognition needs to be given for his longevity – it will be ten years in May – and the manner in which he injects personality into the mining scene. But we also fear South Deep’s dysfunction might become a permanent feature of Holland’s legacy. Elsewhere, Gold Fields has notched up a strong run of form in Australia, though there’s still work to do. Holland will have to guide the company’s response as the cash-strapped Western Australia government again tries to force through a tax hike for gold miners. Holland also has two big offshore projects in Ghana and West Australia to oversee, and ensure they provide returns. Analysts think Gold Fields needs one more clever deal to maintain output levels. Might this be Holland’s swansong?
LIFE OF NICK
Nick Holland started as an article clerk with Deloitte in 1979 after securing degrees in commerce and accounting from the University of Witwatersrand. His first mining job came at Trans-Natal Coal Corporation in 1990 where he stayed for three years before a brief stint at Impala Platinum. He joined Gold Fields as CFO in 1998 and secured the CEO seat in 2008.
- Web Address: www.goldfields.co.za