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Gold Fields to focus on alternatives for Chucapaca in 2013, CEO says

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
South African miner Gold Fields' (NYSE: GFI) 51%-owned Chucapaca gold project in Peru's Moquegua region "will be a big area of focus during the course of 2013," CEO Nick Holland said in a conference call to discuss third quarter financial results. The results of a draft feasibility study, released earlier this month, determined that plans for a 30,000t/d open pit were uneconomical. However, Holland said that Gold Fields "will not close the book on [Chucapaca] yet," and the company will evaluate other options for the project. "Depending on the outcome, [Chucapaca] could move up the standings pretty quickly," Holland added. The draft feasibility study showed a capital expenditure of just under US$2bn, more than US$500mn higher than the initial estimate of US$1.3bn-1.4bn given a year ago. "If we can get to something around [previous estimates] I think we will be in the race again, but we need to look at the right configuration against capital as well," Holland said. Gold Fields requires more "hard technical data" to reevaluate Chucapaca and is therefore planning to increase exploration in 2013. "One thing about this area is it is well mineralized with a number of other satellite deposits in the joint areas of interest, so as part of our next program we will be doing more exploration, and seeing what further upside exists," the CEO said. Chucapaca has an estimated resource of 7.6Moz of gold equivalent. Local miner Buenaventura (NYSE: BVN) holds the remaining 49%.

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