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Gold Fields CEO asks investors for patience on South Deep restructuring

Gold Fields Ltd. CEO Nicholas Holland is asking for "more time" from investors who are getting fed up with the company's failure to stem losses at the South Deep gold mine in South Africa, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 12.

"They are now very impatient, and one can understand it but I think we need to calmly look where we are and evaluate the best way forward," Holland said.

"There is a large resource base there, it's well-drilled and we have spent a lot on infrastructure development costs. We are not far away, we just need more time," he added.

The company said in August that it is embarking on another restructuring plan at the operation.

Gold Fields has spent over 9 billion South African rand on South Deep in addition to the 22 billion rand it spent to acquire the asset in 2006.

A new turnaround plan starting in February 2019 is in the works, and Gold Fields will likely need about 18 months to assess the plan, Holland said.

South Deep's challenges are not unique in South Africa, and other gold producers are not making money either thanks to persistently high costs, Holland said.

South Africa's deep, aging mines and labor-intensive mining methods keep pressure on expenses, which is compounded by an investment shortage in exploration, and the country's gold production fell for the 10th consecutive month in July, Holland told Bloomberg.