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Gold Fields Ltd. (NYSE:GFI)
Q2 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Aug. 16, 2018, 9:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Avishkar Nagaser -- Executive Vice President-Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Gold Fields' Results for the six months ended 30th, June 2018. Just before we start, the exits at the front, at the back, and if there is an emergency, you assemble outside the building. I'll hand over to Nick over the presentation and we'll do question and answers after that. Thank you, Nick.

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Thank you very much, Avishkar. Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for taking the time to join us today to talk through these results for the first half of 2018. I think first of all, although a lot of the news this week has been focused on South Deep, we shouldn't forget that of course there are a number of other operations in the Group that are doing quite well actually, certainly we believe so.

Strong performance from the international ops and they've made $190 million after taxes on all [ph] capital before the project CapEx. So a pretty good performance there, and they are on track to achieve their guidance for the year in terms of production, and look like they should as well achieve their cost guidance.

Damang in particular is tracking well. I'll talk a little bit about that later, that's ahead of plan. Gruyere remains on track for First gold in quarter two next year, that's what we said previously, we're still on track.

CapEx is a little bit higher than what we said before, it's about 18% up from what we thought it would be, and we are roughly just over halfway through that spend with physical progress about 60% overall. So tracking reasonably well. South Deep restructuring and the impairment we announced on Tuesday, I will talk about that again a little bit later on.

Balance sheet is good. The Asanko transaction we completed on 31st of July, so we now earn a 45% interest in the Ghanaian operations of Asanko, got some slides on that too. In line with our policy, a dividend of ZAR0.20 per share, which represents around about a third of our normalized earnings.

So here are some of the headline numbers. Production, this is from continuing operations, because essentially dollar was in the numbers for last year, but in terms of our accounting, we take out discontinued operations, so this is like-for-like. Production just under 1 million ounces for the half year, about 2% lower than what we had last year. Most of that decline linked to South Deep, also Tarkwa.

All-in sustaining costs virtually flat, all-in costs slightly higher and that's really on the back of our projects picking up steam, as we expected them to do. Mine cash flow $149 million, remember I talked about that $190 million on the previous slide, but if you put in South Deep, there is a $41 million outflow in six months. So that drops us to $149 million, nicely up against the previous year of $108 million.

You know, the one thing that Paul and I look at more than anything is our cash. For us, we don't get too hung up on the earnings. We are much more focused on how much money we make, how much cash, that's -- that for us is the real issue. So nice to see that that's up. Project spending, as I mentioned, that's up to $192 million, the pickup there is really on Gruyere and Damang, as they picked up. Those are the two main contributors, pretty much in line with what we expected.

So of course, then, after project capital, we are cash negative from the business, that's what we call the core business, $79 million out compared to $102 million out last year, this time. Also just to remind you, we said that 2017, 2018 would be cash negative with the new projects. And we are reasonably comfortable that these numbers are OK, and even though the gold price is coming down, as you will see a little later, we've got some hedges in place that will protect us over the balance of the year.

So normalized earnings $43 million, that's the figure if you strip out all of the fundings [ph] the non-recurring items compared to $75 million, that's lower than last year, even though our operating profit was higher on the back of the high gold price, and the main reason for that is high exploration costs have come through and higher social costs which go below operating profit. That's the main reason for that coming through.

The dividend I've spoken about -- debt I've spoken about 1.07, we've always said, we don't like to be above 1 and as you'll see later with the Asanko deal, if you rebase that on a pro forma basis up to the end of July, that would be 1.19, which includes the $165 million we've written out to acquire the 45% interest in Asanko. So still reasonably good.

So you've seen the headline numbers in the Group, 7 mines of course across the Group, 2 projects, 994,000 ounces, but if you look at the individual regions, if you look first at West Africa, Tarkwa and Damang attributable production there of 319,000 ounces, just a little bit lower than the previous year.

Some pluses and minuses, Damang up, appreciably up. Tarkwa down a bit in line with what we expected it to do. All-in costs, which included all of the project capital at Damang, $1,114, slightly lower than the previous year, but if you look at all-in sustaining costs, the region is actually down at around about $900 an ounce on all-in sustaining basis, if you strip out the project capital.

Cash flow before the Damang project, $64 million, so we are making good money over there. Americas region, of course, Cerro Corona, very steady, production the same as last year, costs of $737 an ounce slightly higher, that's on the back of the higher strip. What we're doing now, as we reposition the mine for the life extension to 2030, we have to progressively move more strip as we reposition the pit for the increased production.

So the strip ratio was an average of life of mine of about 1, it's not going to be more like 1.5 to 2 as we increase that strip to open up those additional reserves, but still very competitive. Cash flow $41 million for the half year. South Deep, as we've spoken about over here, production of just under 100,000 ounces for the half year compared to 119,000 ounces the previous half year. All-in costs here, obviously way way high, $1,800, and I think that tells you why the restructuring is taking place.

So that means, in a way I have explained this to the media [ph] in a way they understand is, this operation is cash negative to the tune of about ZAR3 million a day, and has been for some time, you know, that is something that is clearly not sustainable for us. We're not getting enough production given the high fixed costs at a Twin Shafts system down at 3,000 kilometers -- 3,000 meters rather, and a process plant on service, two backfill plants, we can't support all of that. So clearly that's one of the reasons for the restructuring.

Looking at Australia, over here we've got the 3 mines left after Darlot has gone, very solid again, 442,000 ounces on track, all-in cost of $900. Net cash flow $86 million. So going along nicely. Balance sheet, I mentioned we're in pretty good shape, I think the one thing that's a little bit of a flashing red light for all of us is interest rates have gone up. If you look over here, we've seen about 1.5% pickup in the base LIBOR rates that we used to pay our floating debt on.

And in fact that's flow through and a weighted average increase of over 1%. I think if you believe, what's going to happen in the States with interest rates, it's quite possible we'll see another 1% to 2% over the next 18 months. What does it mean for us? Every 1% is about $10 million in terms of interest both [ph], that's the delta.

So I think as a strategy, we've got to be looking at delevering over time. Certainly as our projects come through and we're just about halfway through our projects now, we should be looking to deploy some of that cash, de-lever the balance sheet, particularly as gold prices are a bit soggy, and might be soggier for a while. And particularly given the fact we've got maturity coming up here, we got a bond coming up there.

So, we are assessing refinancing options and we'll make a call on that most probably early next year as to what we do. Clearly we want to make sure we manage the tenure of our debt and we don't like to have too much that is, all maturing at once. So we've got a strategy to think about how best we deal with that in time. Also worth mentioning that we got an upgrade on our debt rating as well, which was nice to see which marginally reduced our cost of debt just recently.

Okay. Hedging, we've taken out some hedging to protect us at times of the capital expenditure that's bang in line with our policy and broadly, we've covered it on costs and revenue. The oil hedge we took out some time ago at a basis price of just under $50 a barrel, I mean, as you know, the price today is hovering somewhere about $70, so that's proved to be pretty good business for us, it's made some good money for us and protected us against these big increases and we've hedged about 50% in Australia and Ghana. Those are the operations that are most sensitive to oil and to diesel.

And on the gold side, we've hedged Ghana and Australia, obviously some of these hedges have now been matured and we've delivered on them. But essentially, we're looking at a situation where we've hedged about 80% of the remaining production at Ghana for the year and virtually everything in Australia.

Ghana, has a floor of $1,300, Australia has a floor of about AU$1,700, a mixture of caps and collars -- collar structures rather and forwards that will protect us. We're a little bit in South Africa but nothing of consequence.

We've also hedged out the copper, in Peru, at a base price of $3 a pound, and that's (inaudible). So this is giving us at least some comfort that we can fund our capital programs, and our people often ask, well, are you worried about the drop in the gold price of circa $100 over the last month or so and your ability to fund on projects, we're not worried. Our hedges will carry us through as we get into next year, we're really off through the hump of the capital on our projects.

Let's look at Asanko and what we've bought into. So over here this is a map of Ghana over here and here is the Asanko gold belt over here and it's sandwiched between two big belts on this side over here. Here you see one of Newmont's operations over there, there you see Chirano, that's Kinross, another one of Newmont's operations over there and of course Obuasi which is over here.

So these are recognized gold belts and we are in a fairly under explored gold belt in the middle here. And this is, the dark blue is the lease area that Asanko has -- here is Tarkwa and Damang down here, we're about 100 kilometers to the north. So that gives you an idea of the positioning.

Then if you look at a high resolution of that down here, you've got Nkran which is the main pit source at the moment that we've been stripping the first six months of the year, that's now back into production. They also are mining from two small satellite pits, Dynamite Hill and Akwasiso, but the main prize for the future is up here, that's Esaase and we can actually move and show you what this looks like. So here's a bigger picture of all of this. There is your Nkran reserve of about 1.4 million ounces, we're using the last published numbers here.

And then Esaase at the top there, just under 3 million ounces. There is about a 30-kilometer distance here. We'll start stripping this pit from January next year, and we'll also be -- can show you whether we do road transport or conveyor transport. And we have a conveyor option permitted with appropriate support from communities, so we'll decide which is the better of the two options as we ramp that up. As we ramp this down, we'll be ramping that up, and we have a plant that can do, which is just over here really, about 5 million tons a year at the moment with potential to expand beyond that.

So it's early days, we've just really cemented the transactions. As you could see 31st of July, we paid the money and we got another deferred payment, which is likely to be paid at the end of 2019 of $20 million. To give you an idea of the production, Legend [ph] insists about 250,000 ounces, all-in sustaining costs of about $860 over the next five years.

I stress, we're going to be going through a replanning exercise with them and we've started that process now. They are the operators, but we have a strong joint venture agreement that allows us to get involved, they'll be adopting all of our planning protocols and timeframes.

So in February when we are here again, we'll give you a better feel as to what next year looks like and what the future is. The thing that really excites me having been up to the site last month, is the fact that a lot of this deposits they're mining are on share zones. I think these share zones run right through the property and so if you follow this kind of footprint, you're likely to see analogs across this entire lease area. These share zones run for 100 kilometers, so I think it's a fair bet that there will be some additional ore bodies, hopefully that will be mineable in the future. And as I said, this is an under explored belt.

So one of the reasons we got in here is not just what we see now and I mean there's a life of mine here in excess of 15 years, but also what we see in the future, and what we can bring today here. Ghana is a great country. We know it well, we've been in Ghana now for 25 years, we've been operating there longer than anybody else other than the original Ashanti.

So we do have a good understanding of what it takes to operate in Ghana. I've talked about this really, Esaase is the next part of the equation that will start developing from next year, and Esaase, exploration potential, well, there it is, very little has been done over the past few years. So it's all ahead of us, prospective ground. Damang, as I've mentioned is doing well 26% ahead of the planned year-on-year in terms of tons, contractors are performing well. We are getting down much quicker than we thought we would, and this is the key figure I look at, what is the Vertical Rate of Advance, 6.3 meters a month. The basic plan we put together as part of the reinvestment plan was just over 4 meters. So that's one of the KPIs, I'd like to track. Are we getting down into the base of the ore body quickly enough, and that's the key return so far. We're ahead of the game, but we know, as we get deeper into the pit, it is going to get harder, the material gets harder, obviously your drill and blast practices will have to be spot on, geotechnical compliance, spatial compliance, all those good things when you're advancing down into a deeper pit have got to be on it.

Capital up slightly, you can see $73 million spent as against $61 million the previous year, as the projects ramps up.

Amoanda is a hidden gem that seems to be emerging for us here, and I'll show you why. First of all, here is a picture of Damang. So that's looking north that's north up there. This is the western wall and that's the eastern wall, and I think you can see the western wall, these -- this is the ramp over here. The western wall has come down a hell of a lot more than the eastern wall. We've only got about 30 minutes to go here to the base. On the Saddle [ph] side over here, we've got about 70 meters to go, over here on the main Damang pit, we got about 130 meters to go.

So we will be in ore over here next year, so that's part of the plan in the Saddle area. We'll be in ore over here in quarter 2, 2020. So that's the plan over there. But you could see, for those of you who were at Damang a few years ago, this is unrecognizable, I mean this -- all of this over here was right up here. So that moved a lot of material over this period of time. So, good to see the progress over here.

So if we look at Amoanda again, I'm looking north that is Tomento over there, Tomento East up top there, which is there, that's the section view and this is Amoanda pit 4 over there, pit 3 over there. So here is a section view, we've been doing some drilling here and the thing that has surprised us is we thought this was just a paleoplacer ore body Wits style mineralization, fairly continuous like Tarkwa, continuous uniform, very average grade, but what we've actually found is that now we have a hydrothermal underprint.

So these drill holes over here are actually picking up two styles of mineralization, with visible gold intersections coming through. And as you can see over here, the strike over here is probably about 3 or 4 kilometers. So this is turning into something really, really interesting that we never thought existed. We mined Amoanda out, the original Amoanda which is somewhere over here about 7 or 8 years ago and we thought that was it.

So, it shows there's something else there, and this is on the same trend as Damang, just further south. So follow the (inaudible), follow the trend, you'll find the mineralization. So the potential here is -- is very significant. So we are excited about this as an addition to what we're going to do at Damang.

Gruyere, we've brought in a independent third-party review, we were concerned that the project was running a bit behind. The joint venture partners that's ourselves and Gold Road brought in this review, we've completed that work and we've done a reassessment of the capital forecast. That's not coming in at AU$621 million compared to the initial plan of AU$532, and that's got a fairly high level of confidence assigned to it, as you can see.

We've had a AU$90 million change in estimate from where we started, about a third of that is force majeure and scope change costs. We had some really bad weather at the beginning of the year, which stopped us. We've also had some changes in estimates with the main EPC contractor. There was some provisional sums that were included, we've now got final estimates, that's probably another $30 million. So we got a much better resolution on this.

As I mentioned earlier, we're round about just over halfway through on the spend and we're about 60% through in terms of the overall project. So, so far so good. As you can see at the bottom here, 61% engineering is basically done. This is always an area that can cause variations, when you do your detailed engineering, but as you can see that's just about there. So we don't expect major surprises from here. So here is a view of the complex, in the distance there, you can see that's the tails dam, circular dam that's not uncommon in Australia.

Here is the process plant, leach tanks, et cetera, you can see a lot of activity has taken place over here. So making good progress. Good to see too, all of the key things are on site, all the long lead items have been procured and delivered to site.

You know, this is one of the ones that we are worried about, there is the mill shell, that's a big piece of gear as well. Power plants has been done, that's all in place. There is another view of the CIL tanks. There is the Coarse ore stockpile, there is your reclaim tunnel underneath there. Very well engineered, designed, reinforced, that's a key component that's reclaim tunnel underneath.

So that's all been done, and I must say although the project is costing a bit more the quality of what we got here is topnotch. So we're very pleased about that too.

So Australia production then steady as you go, 442,000 ounces, costs $900 making cash. Exploration is looking good, I've got a couple of slides on that too. The one project that is bubbling under, we haven't told you much about, there is a pre-feasibility study on the Paleochannel Project at St Ives. Paleochannel is essentially a thin Riverbed based material largely, sort of alluvial type gold but also we do have a super gene component, which means it's not all river sand, a lot of it is actually In-situ, it's always been there.

There is potential here for between 2 million to 3 million ounces, and we are going through a study here. But this will have to be mined almost as a discrete project, because we won't be able to get a less material into the plant, and already Neptune is the Paleochannel in essence, and we have to blend 25% of Neptune with 75% fresh from Invincible and from Hamlet underground. So we'll need something different here, but this looks exciting, potentially 2 grams a ton plus, but we'll have to find a bulk mining method to move quite a lot of waste, on top of that, it won't be able to be mined conventionally. We will give you more on this as we learn probably at the end of the year some more.

Agnew, now a number of you have asked me well, isn't Agnew dead in the water, I mean, it's only got two years of reserve, how long you are going to persist with Agnew. Well, I think Agnew has got a lot of legs in it still. This is the area that excites us the most, Waroonga North, this on a sheer zone that is essentially parallel to the main Kim, sheer zone. Kim has given us about 1 million ounces of 10 grams a ton over a 10 year life.

So it's been a fantastic mine for us. The indications are, this is looking like another good mine, open at depth, opened laterally, we haven't found how big this is yet, but we'll stop mining this, we've got about three drives in here.

So this can be easily accessed and mined from the existing infrastructure. We could share the ventilation as well. So not a huge amount of money to get in here. So that's part of the future.

FBH continues to get bigger, down here, so we're seeing extensions up, down and laterally. So, lots to be enthusiastic about at Agnew. New Holland site of Agnew, this was the -- our Lawlers operation again, we're seeing some new trends over here, Sheba South, New Holland, Sheba North, Lower Genesis. This is about 2 kilometers of more than just anomalies we've actually got drill holes in here, Genesis as well. So a lot coming out here into the future. So pleased to see that too.

Then something that really surprised me. We mined an old pit called Redeemer, way back when this is a long section that's planned here, backfilled it, gone. We've always had a small resource here that was never economic, then we started drilling it again, and it's not underneath the old pit, it's offset to the main pit, and we are finding some really good drill results underneath that.

And we've put select drill results in here, but in fact we haven't had any bad ones yet. Normally the geologists will only give you the good ones, and normally for every good one there is about three bad ones. But so far this has been pretty good going. So we're building something here. So we think there is potential here for another 1 million ounces on top.

Lot more work to do, I mean this is not something we are going to be mining tomorrow. But over the next year, we'll do some more work and this will be something hopefully that will be in the future of Agnew. At St Ives, you all know about Invincible, the open pit, the different phases here, it's been a fantastic mine for us. Sadly, probably going to be at the end in another 1 year to 15 months or so, but we've started two portals here into the underground mine, underground mine is already into its first stopes, and building up production nicely, you'll see in the book, we indicated what the increase in the ounces were coming out of Invincible underground.

That's not the end, because we've got Invincible South coming on the other side of the Alpha Island Fault. And we've got Invincible Far South that they now call it Jasper, I don't know where they get these names from, but anyway, they've called it Jasper. So that continuous downtrend, and then at the Deep side, we are seeing more.

So those of you who want to see the drill results from the geologists that's a (inaudible) of some of the drill results. At Deeps as you can see, quite like that one, 10 meters at 8 grams, that looks pretty good, 12 meters at 11 grams not bad at all. If this holds together, we're going to be seeing something really special, 14 meters at 8 grams. So some interesting stuff here, 7 meters at 45 grams, definitely something here. Hopefully it holds together, time will tell.

Granny Smith, remember this was the Barrick acquisition back in 2013, when we bought this mine, it had 670,000 ounces of reserve, and had round about 3 million ounces of resource. Today, we've got 2.2 million ounces of reserve which obviously excludes what we've mined in the five years, and we're sitting on a resource now just over 7 million ounces. So we're quite excited about what we have here.

The center of gravity at the moment is here, this is where we are mining, most of the mining is coming out of here. You'll see we're doing a lot of the mine definition drilling, the zone 110, 120, zone 135, that's going to be the mines of the future. And you're looking at anywhere between 1 million to 2 million ounces per load in situ of which we probably extract around about 60% of that.

So that's the one part of the program is doing mine definition drilling for the future. And then doing extensional drilling because what we've seen, as we mine these loads above, they keep getting wider. We're seeing more and more and more. So that's the other part of the equation. You're seeing how far it extends. We've got a view that it extends out here. So that's brilliant, because if it does, we can maybe go out laterally before we go down further into the mine itself.

So this has been a fantastic operation for us and has made a lot of money, got a payback of -- in just over two years. So lots more to come from Granny Smith from Wallaby. And that's really the upper part of the mine, and if I'd just go back for a moment, up over here zone 256, we went back and had a look, this wasn't mined by us, this was mined by the previous owners.

But we went back and had another look, and guess what, we found some more up here. And we're seeing a couple of drill holes going in here, again some interesting stuff, so we think we're going to augment from the shallow part of the mine, which will be cheaper as well because not far to get down there. While South America, what can we say about Cerro Corona, it just continues to be a fantastic operation. It's been 10 years now, 10 years in production, it's made a lot of money for us. And there's a lot more to come here, we believe. The feasibility study for the life extension to 2030 is going well. But we are not ending there and we have an objective to go way beyond 2030. We're doing a scoping study, there is potential for more tails capacity, there is potential for different tails and there's also potential for a push back on Corona as well.

So that's the work that we are going to be doing, we can see this going beyond 2030 if we are successful with that scoping study. Salares, I have mentioned, on track for the end of the year. EIA finally accepted, so the clock is ticking, could be 18 months, could be two years, we'll see, that's the key decision point. Once we got that, we're good to go.

Just to remind you, we've got a resource 23 million tons at 4.9 grams gold, 66 grams silver, 4.3 million ounces of gold equivalent and that's virtually all in the indicated, there is very little inferred in here and virtually all in oxides. 10-year life, 3.5 million ounces produced that is front-ended, CapEx of $850 million, we can see about a three-year payback on this.

But we're doing more work on the districts around us. We have many other options on properties we own and properties we've staked, so we can see the potential here for a camp.

West Africa, 319,000 ounces, very similar to the previous half year, costs down, all-in costs down, going well. I'm very happy with the Ghana Region and the work that we're doing here. So this is in really good shape. South Africa, we've talked about production being lower than last year. New shift arrangements and labor restructuring probably had a hangover effect and hurt us.

We've also had some ground conditions that have meant, we've had to pull things out of mining that we were going to mine, and as always, this happens in the high-grade part of the mine. The composites as well is right up against the western side and the wedge up against the shoreline, fairly broken up ground that we have again had to go slower on and and couldn't mine it this year, but it's not gone. The important thing is we will get back into those high-grade areas in time.

The 189 notice, I think you know about effecting 1,100 employees, 460 contractors. So it's about 30% -- 25% to 30% of the workforce. Regrettably, we started this process, remember it is a consultation process, no final decision yet, but the clock has started ticking yesterday as the notice was served, and we will engage with the unions. We've briefed the Minister, saw the Minister myself on Monday and briefed him. So he's up to speed with where we are. Obviously it's not the kind of news people want to hear and we've thought long and hard before moving into this. Some people think this is the beginning of the end.

We think this could be the beginning of a restart for us by getting this right and decluttering the mine of machines and people in the mining area can make a big difference.

Often people have come to us and said, if you could mine the operation with less fleet, less people, your productivities will improve, your logistics will improve, you will get more people. You'll get more ore out of the mine. You'll get more productivity from your people if you do that. So let's see how we go. We've done the impairment as well on the back of the lower production and assuming that lower production is extrapolated into the next year.

Okay. This restructuring entails us shutting down a big part of the old mine and although it looks like a big part, it was only giving us about 600 to 700 kilograms a year, but we can take out a lot of infrastructure costs by taking that out.

And we can redeploy those crews into the high-grade areas further down here where we can get a much better output with the improved infrastructure that we've put in. We then can actually stop servicing all of the mining areas from Twins and South Shaft and just service all the mining areas from Twins, thereby having a much more efficient mining schedule and logistics. Because we're losing money, and we are ahead on our development in the new mine, we're going to take a break on that and rather just focus the strong performing teams over here in improving our gold winning over here. And we can come back to that later. We do have a flexibility to do this.

So, the immediate concern for us is to stop the cash burn. We've had a cash burn of ZAR1 billion, a year and a half, (inaudible) years which as I said, translates to ZAR3 million a day, continue to embed proper mechanized mining practices. We still believe, we have a hangover effect from legacy conventional mining practices, particularly given the fact that you got to integrate all of your activities of your mechanized mining together.

Your development, your stoping, your cleaning, your backfilling, if you don't get all of that in sync, you run out of ground to mine very quickly. We still haven't perfected that, and we're working on it. The team does know what the problems are. The important thing is we understand the issues. We believe we know what the solutions are. We need more time to fix this.

Obviously, the mine has disappointed a number of times, there are no guarantees. This is going to work, but we do believe this is the best course of option to give this mine the best possible chance for the future. I got to get into the North of Wrench, that's the area we've set up with much more efficient structures, redundancy with additional ore passes, crushers, conveyor belts, the kind of things that mechanized mines across the world have, that we will have for the future. And that's the bulk of the ore body that we'll be mining over the next 20 years. This part here is only about 1.5 million ounces, this part here plus 10 million ounces, that's where the future lies.

All right, so in conclusion, we did say 2017 and 2018 are reinvestment years as we look to build new projects that will underwrite a better future for us in terms of a longer life for Gold Fields at lower costs, particularly important given the volatility in the gold price. So we're 18 months through what is essentially a 30-month profile . So we're more than halfway. The international portfolio continues to be strong and it's important that we continue to look after that. It's the underpin of the company and the balance sheet is reasonable and we're engineering a better solution at South Deep for the future. Thank you very much.

Avishkar Nagaser -- Executive Vice President-Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Okay, we'll take questions from the audience first and then we'll go to the line, Brendan?

Questions and Answers:

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

It's Brendan Ryan from Miningmx. Nick, you stressed the importance of getting into the North of Wrench area and that's where the future the mine lies, at South Deep and you previously indicated that was going to take some three years before you knew what you had there. Does that mean that irrespective of what happens at South Deep from your restructure again, you're not giving us any targets irrespective of what happens from your restructuring, are you going to keep this mine going for the next three years until you've got into and can assess North of Wrench?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

I think the first and most important objective, Brendan, is to improve what we're doing at the moment and if we're going to be flat lining at the production rates that we are now, we've got to right-size the cost base to that. If we do that, I think we can buy ourselves time. We've spent a lot of capital in opening up the North of Wrench. We do know what's there, but it's a question of getting to it. And the thing that's worrying us here is, although we see a future there, we can't afford to be burning the amount of cash that we are currently burning while we wait to get there and that's why we've taken the steps that we're taking now. I still believe in the future of South deep, because if we didn't, we wouldn't have selected this option. The team believes in it and they want to give this a go, but we recognize like you, there's been many missed forecasts and targets and we are conscious of that too. So we need to make sure that this is something that has got a better chance of working. Certainly carrying on as we are and losing ZAR3 million a day is not a good option for us, but this buys us time to get into what we hope will be the promised land.

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

You say losing ZAR3 million a day isn't an option for you, what would be an acceptable rate of loss while you strive toward this strategic feature?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

I'll leave that to my financial manager officer over here to answer.

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

Brendan, I think we've got to work through the next six months. We've got to get through the restructuring if that does happen and the short-term goal is to try and get the mine back to an all-in cost of (inaudible), which that basically implies is almost cash neutral, but a lot of work has got to be done over the next six months. We said we will come back to you in the new year with some (inaudible) forecast for 2019. That's about it at the moment. We just need to do what we need to do with the restructuring and everything and reset the mine.

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Can I also just ask Martin Preece is here, who has been working day and night to get us to this plan and working day and night to try and buy us the future. So maybe we could just give him two minutes to give his perspective on how we build a future. I don't know whether you need a microphone.

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

Thanks a lot. I think Paul and Nick have summarized it. We've got to I think move and take a step change to move out of this conventional mindset into a mechanized mindset. We've got a good team on board and I think Nick sort of touched on it lightly. I think that he's committed and believes that they want to go the course to learn this. The one thing that's really important I think is it's more an engineering endeavor than it is a mining endeavor and what's really pleasing is he's got a really strong mining guy in -- a strong engineer, he's been around a while and we've parked him in offices next to each other with a hole. We've put a door between offices and the more and more I see them, they are co-joined at the hip and I think that's the (inaudible) and the necessary supporting thing. A lot of effort is going to go into how do we structure our teams and (technical difficulty) build on some of the work, some of the other mining companies have done to drive that front line productivity and get front line people to take ownership and own their outcomes that it's not a one man decision plus it's people at the front end are driving their own destiny.

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

Nick, one last question, then I'll shut up in South Deep. I mean, given the history of the mine, you can understand there's a tremendous amount of negative and cynic viewpoints on South Deep. So what is it going to take for you to say, OK guys, this isn't going to work, we've had enough, we are going to sell it or shut it down. What has to happen before you say we can't make this work and we're out of here.

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Yes, I think certainly, let's assume we get through this restructuring and I think this restructuring is not going to be easy, but let's assume we could fast forward and we're sitting here in February. We need to know that we've got a credible plan that we can meet and that we're starting to see that on a week-by-week basis, a month-by-month basis, we meet whatever we say we're going to do. So that number one, the team on the ground under Martin can build up their own confidence and two that we can. I think the thing that would cause Paul and I to lose more confidence is if we continue to miss targets. I think whatever we set out for ourselves post all of this, we got to hit and we got to build some momentum. Martin, you want to add to that?

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

Great. No (inaudible).

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

So the next six months are critical.

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Yes, critical.

Yatish Chowthee -- Macquarie -- Analyst

Hi. It is Yatish from Aussie Macquarie. Just to touch back on your South Deep progress, in terms of assuming the worst case scenario that your production is significantly hampered going into the second half on this restructuring, what levers do you have on your other assets to actually make up your annual guidance between 2.08 million ounces and 2.1 million ounces.

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Yes. Look, the one thing we don't like to do is push people out of a long-term plan and all of our mines have a long-term plan and spacial compliance is important and if you get out of your spacial compliance and you over-mine a nice high grade area, you're going to pay the price next year. So I think we've got to make sure that the international mines keep doing what we're doing because we also want to make sure that 2019 is a good year and 2020 is a good year, but I think what we'll do instead is we're curtailing some of the capital expenditure as you've seen on South Deep. We can curtail, stay in business and grow the capital. We will see some impact on the operating costs, but let me just say, we're not saying that people must down tools today and sit on the ground for the next two, three months waiting for this to happen. People have got a responsibility to work. So we would expect all of our teams from our managers all the way down to the face, our expectation is for people to keep working to make sure they don't create an even worse future for themselves. But assuming the worst case, you're an analyst, so you have to assume the worst case, it might be that our production is going to be a lot less in the second half than what it was in the first half if things don't go well and the first half wasn't great either. That would mean the cash losses could increase. You know fortunately, we are making good money on the international operations. We've got a strong balance sheet and, Paul, I think is comfortable with our overall financial position, but I think we've got to run those assets optimally and we've got to do the best thing we can do here.

Yatish Chowthee -- Macquarie -- Analyst

Yes. Then just to follow up on, in terms of where -- assume that again you know looking at where the gold price is today and looking at your funding, the requirements at your other assets, is there a concern that, again with South Deep -- off the table, you're going to run into a bit of a balance sheet constraint going in toward year-end.

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

We are basically hedged, fairly most of our production at the international operations for the balance of the year, Australia has hedged 100% of the balance of the production with a flow of AU$1,700. Ghana, we've hedged circa 80% at a flow of 1,300 of our production. Peru, the copper is fully hedged for the balance of the year, and we've got a small hedge in South Africa, even for South Deep with a flow of ZAR600,000 a kilogram. So for the balance of the year, the gold price will still be good for us because of our hedges.

Bruce Williamson -- Integral Asset Management -- Analyst

Hi, Bruce Williamson, Integral Asset Management. Nick, just looking you, listening to what the guys have said, talking about structured teams, operating like others which I'm assuming other (inaudible) mining operations, people taking responsibility. If you look what the mine has being through over long, long, long period, I mean your psychometric testing of your workforce, are you guys sure, that you actually have a workforce that is correct for what you are asking them to do?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Yes. It's one of the issues we've looked at in some detail. There are gaps, and I think for us to say that we've got a fully fit-for-purpose workforce in terms of world class mechanized bulk mining, no, we don't, we've got work to do. And training is a key part of our program. We are training a lot of people in the classroom and the training facilities are giving some good results, but our ability to translate that into the workplace is somewhat absent.

So that's another part of the exercise we're doing here, and again I think, I'd like for Martin to add a bit more color to the answer because he's been working in detail on this for many weeks and months.

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

Thanks, Nick. I think that is a big area of focus, it was a big exercise that was conducted before, I've joined, getting the managerial levels' psychometrics done, because I think it goes across the Board. We reaching agreement on doing psychometrics on entry level positions as well, and I think it is critical -- I think it goes beyond psychometrics. One of the key things with operators is a test called a (inaudible) test, which relates to ability to almost operate in a 3D special environment.

So, we are moving into that space, and Nick did make the point around classroom training and actually transitioning that into the can-do attitude at the first, that's taking the theory into the practical. We've done a lot of work, I've been through with our Head of HR. We've brought in independent people to look at our training processes.

They are comfortable, I've sat with them. The process is good, the material and content is good and we are getting -- we are seeing the marked improvement in skills acquisition. What we've got to drive now is skills application.

Bruce Williamson -- Integral Asset Management -- Analyst

Certainly I would identify that as probably your most critical thing to get, right.

Avishkar Nagaser -- Executive Vice President-Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

(inaudible) conference call to see if there are questions. Are there any questions on the conference call?


Yes, we have a question from James Bell of RBC Capital Markets.

James Bell -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yes, thanks for the presentation and taking my question. Just two on the international portfolio. Firstly on Ghana, are you able to comment on some of the press reports that the government are unhappy or looking to shake up the mining royalty and tax regime? And secondly on Australia, some of the domestic producers, we've seen reports have talked about inflation and sort of labor shortages and contractor issues, et cetera. Coming in, back into the industry, I mean is that something you think could have an impact on your cost base, looking into next year? And on the hedging side in Australia, is that something you're going to look to continue to do next year and going forward?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Yes, just dealing first with the second part, James, on Australia. We are starting to see an increase in turnover rates of critical skills as mining starts to recover in Australia. It's something we watch quite carefully. So I do think there is going to be a big play on skills as projects come through. We've seen this before. When you often find the worst for wells is when iron ore and nickel are going up and gold is going down. We still got to pay the same wages, that they offer and it puts us under tremendous pressure. I've lived through that in this company before. So that is a real risk. We've had very benign inflation in Australia for a while, but it's changing.

Had we started the Gruyere project today, I'm pretty confident that the total cost of that project, if we started today would be a lot more than when we have started. So we're catching the back end of that cost inflation. But certainly that's a risk for us. And we've got to watch for that.

Just in terms of Ghana, obviously, there are some fiscal pressures in the country, but remember we do have a development agreement, that pegs our royalties and our taxes for life of mine, so we are protected there, but obviously we watch carefully developments as it unfolds in the country. But for now, I think we're OK. And then on hedging look, we have taken some opportunistic currency hedging into next year already, and you'll see it's in the book on Australia.

Just to make sure that if the thing that would worry us greatly in Australia is if the Aussie dollar came back to parity with the US dollar. And you know, since we've operated in Australia from 2001, I've seen the Aussie dollar as low as AU$0.45 and as high as the AU$1.25. So that's a hell of a wide range for the Aussie dollar against the US dollar. So it can be volatile. So that's just the one area we just want to protect ourselves. We're nibbling away there, we'll see how that goes in the future, but it seems to me it's going the other way in the markets because the US dollar is something of a safe haven at the moment.

People are piling their money, they are in the midst of all this trade wars and so on. So maybe we are going to be proved wrong and that the US dollar continues to be strong. Time will tell.

James Bell -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, thank you.


The next question comes from Johan Steyn of Citigroup.

Johan Steyn -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks, guys for taking my question. Nick, just regarding the whole thing about skills at South Deep, I do find it somewhat puzzling given everything that you guys have done there. And in a sense, I think that South Africans will also find it a little bit insulting. So it either does point to something like, you know, you're just not getting the skills, which ultimately should come back to management, because it's management's responsibility to fix that, or it's a convenient way of hiding behind something much more fundamental like this mine is just taking you a bit [ph] challenging to mine.

And then it's a convenient excuse, so which one is it?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Okay. So here is how I would look at that. You've mentioned this before to me. So I think it was you. So I'll revert back to what you said before, is that one of the things that concerns you is the multiple management changes at South Deep over the years. And one of the issues there is when there's a change in leadership, there is a style of working that comes in and other people come in, teams have built up and then you get changes in management and often you find that the mine changes, and I've seen that in the other mines that we use to earn that now became Sibanye is a mine might be doing well, then the mine manager changes and it can come down a bit and then you go to resuscitate it.

A similar issue here. So I think the mine manager changes and the leadership changes have not helped. On this kind of operation, we need to get stability on the leadership and sure I mean you could point fingers at us, as a leadership of Gold Fields, that that hasn't happened because that's our job is to get stable leadership in. But I think though, without the stable leadership, it's been quite difficult to embed the appropriate mechanized mining practices and culture that we need, particularly when there are so much changes.

And if we could get a period of stability, I'm pretty sure that we could improve on that. So, in terms of, is it just too difficult to mine, I had the same thought in my mind some years ago, and what we did is, we brought in a team of professors, who are professors in geotechnical affairs and rock mechanics to come and work with us.

There's a couple of them from Australia, there's one from Canada, there's one from South Africa. So they've been working with us closely for about 4.5 years. And the questions we've posted to them is, can we make this mine work? Do we have the right mining method? Do we have the right support practices, protocols, et cetera ?

And they've been working with us and guiding us to the finishing line. And what make this mine work, do we have the right mining method, do we have the right support practices, protocols et cetera, and they've been working with us and guiding us to the finishing line and what they've said to us, and again they were here literally six to eight weeks ago, is it can work provided that we improve our mining practices, in essence, what we're going to do is we're going to open up the orebody quicker, we've got to mine it quicker and we've got to backfill it quicker. In essence, that's what it comes down to and we've been taking too long between all of these things and activities. What's the result? The result is that you get deteriorating ground conditions, you have to come back and rehabilitate pillars and side walls and haulages, and it slows you up and you're not advancing quickly enough and you don't open up phase. So that's been the issue for us and that comes down to, do we understand from an integrated fashion what we got to do. So we understand the problems and I think we've understood the problems for a while, but it's now getting all of our levels of management and our teams focused on that. We believe we can achieve that, but it's going to take some time and obviously we've had multiple disappointments along that pathway. I'm going to also ask Martin Preece who is here to just add his perspective to that because it's a quite fundamental question that you raised.

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

Thanks, Nick. I think that's the question that plagues us all in, you know, I said to the team on a teleconference I think yesterday morning, we asked ourselves the question again and I think there is broad consensus with the team that focusing on the right things, this is doable, and this is why we're taking the pain we are taking now, it's a long hard slog. I think Nick has touched on the integration and I think it's the integration in the planning, it's the integration in the execution and I think that has been lacking. We started taking the steps to address that integration at a planning space [ph]. We've brought in external people to come and sit and help us build the plan together and in terms of organization via the restructuring we undertook earlier in the year was also aimed at trying to get single points of accountability, which would drive that integration at the front-end.


Thank you. The next question comes from (inaudible) of Value Capital.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

Thanks for taking my call. Nick, I think from the tone (inaudible) how this conference call is going, it seems like you passing back to Martin, Martin passes back the buck to you and it's all gibberish and garbage that you guys are actually feeding everybody else. Last time when I spoke to you on the phone, you're quite arrogant when I pointed out to you that this mine has sucked up some ZAR50 billion plus of shareholder money [ph] and you had dismissed (inaudible), you didn't take accountability for it and neither did you subsequently or your team release some kind of a technical view or overview of exactly what's been happening at South Deep. Now, the question I want to put you, out of the $20 million odd of actually share compensation and that's is a challenge that you can't take, how much of it is yours, of that $20 million, how much that it relates to you. That's the first question. Second, are you and the team able to release the actual expert reports that you guys are keeping referring to, so that everybody else can actually read them and make a view about what's happening at South Deep. I think those are my two set of questions that I will wait for your response.

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, I think on the second question, we'll take that under advisement, but we hear what you're saying in terms of transparency and thanks for the suggestion of being transparent and even more transparent on some of the stuff we're referring to. So we'll take that under advisement. The first question, I didn't quite understand, could you maybe just repeat that first question.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

Of the $20 billion [ph] in share compensation for the first year -- half year of FY '18, how much of that $20 million relates to your compensation?

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

I'll talk to it. That is for the whole Group, that's for six months and Nick sees a fraction of that number. That's for the whole Group, it covers all the regions, corporate office, the full operating entities. It's a minute portion of that.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

No, what is minute, how much? I mean, minute is a figure number. That's how you can put $20 million on the income statement.

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

It's a calculation, it's done on a overall basis, not on the individual basis. When this pays out, you'll see what it gets. At the moment, it's a globular calculation done for the whole Group and it's a valuation methodology. It's not done on a individual person at the moment. It's done for the Group based on the metrics that have been set in the share scheme. When it matures, and that matures each year in February, you will see what each persons gets and Nick's will be disclosed. At the moment, I cannot tell you what it is, but I know it's, there's a lots of people in that scheme and there is no person that accounts for a huge portion of it.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. Thanks for taking my questions.


There are no further questions on the lines.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

One for you, here, Paul. Could you detail the quantum and terms of the debt that matures in 2019 and what's the plans for the maturity.

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

It's the $380 million term loan that expires. We will consider our options as to how to refinance it in the year coming up. That is $381 million that expires.

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

Cost of the debt, interest rate?

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

The cost of debt at the moment is just probably about 3.75 if you take it. It's about 2.4, 2.5 above LIBOR.

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

Nick, Brendan Ryan again, Miningmx, you mentioned in your report that the Ghanaian government wants to enforce its right to buy up to 30% of your gold directly. Can you elaborate on that please. What's in it for them and are they going to try and force you to sell it at a discount?

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Brendan, I'll answer it. We've just -- it was a letter that was sent to the chamber. That's all we've seen. It was literally a one page letter. We replied yesterday as a chamber, we need explanation. There was no information on how we are going to be paid, when we are going to be paid. What it's going to be based on, US dollar series, we have no idea, we are waiting now for explanation from the government as to how they would want to implement it, but we thought it was prudent that we notified our shelfs [ph] and said we have received this an industry and Gold Fields being one of the members, we've received this letter and we put it up. We don't understand the implications of it because we have no more information.

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

But it could be negative depending --

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

We don't know. It could be. We really don't know until we see the terms as to what they're proposed to do.

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

Thank you.

Avishkar Nagaser -- Executive Vice President-Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

On the call, is there anything else. No. Well, thank you very much. We'll see you again in six month's time.

Duration: 64 minutes

Call participants:

Avishkar Nagaser -- Executive Vice President-Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Nicholas Holland -- Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director

Brendan Ryan -- Miningmx -- Analyst

Paul Schmidt -- Chief Financial Officer

Martin Preece -- Executive Vice President, South Africa.

Yatish Chowthee -- Macquarie -- Analyst

Bruce Williamson -- Integral Asset Management -- Analyst

James Bell -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Johan Steyn -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Unidentified Participant -- -- Analyst

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