Gold Fields Ghana to lay off 1 500 workers

Accra - Gold Fields' unit in Ghana has said it will dismiss 1 500 of its own staff as the company is hiring a contractor to operate its biggest mine in the West African nation.

A contractor will take charge of the Tarkwa operations from early 2018 as the deposit’s remaining life span is too short to replace ageing mine equipment, Gold Fields Ghana Vice President David Johnson said by phone on Tuesday.

Tarkwa produces about 550 000 ounces of gold per year and has about five to six years left for its current design, he said.

“When it’s contracted, the mining contractor already has their fleet so they will handle their fleet and maintain it,” said Johnson.

“We acquired our current fleet in 2004.”

Gold Fields last year announced a $1.4bn reinvestment plan for its Damang gold mine in Ghana that extended the operation to 2024. Ghana is the continent’s biggest gold producer after South Africa and accounted for a third of Gold Fields’ revenue in 2016.

“Exploration and processing will continue at Tarkwa,” Johnson said.

“When we find resources in commercial quantities we can extend the mine life. It’s very possible that Gold Fields will again operate the asset in future, he said.

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