Gold Fields Success Story
Gold Fields Generates Timely Production Reports from the Mine Site with Ventyx Production Accounting
"We can view trends amongst reconciled data and recoveries, such as unit process recovery performance, giving us the opportunity to take stock of plant performance KPIs and assess future plant capital spending."
TED DA SILVA
SENIOR CONSULTANT – METALLURGY: OPERATIONS
Gold Fields needed to focus on optimizing the performance of its processing plants and maximize profitability by:
- Reducing the amount of time manually entering data
- Creating a vital link between the production and finance areas of the businesses
- Accurately calculating and reporting on final product valuation, throughput, in-process inventories and the financial impact of the change in metal grade or other process parameters
- Providing clear data to generate financial reports.
Gold Fields uses Ventyx Production Accounting to help improve the traceability of its gold from mine to market.
With a single solution across its entire global operation, Gold Fields now has clear procedures for generating production reports from each site, resulting in:
- Automated data quality checks
- The ability to view trends amongst reconciled data and recoveries
- An end-to-end, unbroken audit trail
- Best practice methodologies
- Prevention of unauthorized modification of data
- Reporting time 95% faster than spreadsheets
Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gold Fields is one of the largest gold producers in the world. It operates nine mines across South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru and has an extensive growth pipeline with both greenfields and near mine exploration projects at various stages of development.
For Gold Fields, an ongoing challenge has been optimizing the performance of its processing plants when faced with limited data (and thus limited visibility) around highly variable raw material inputs.
“As the concentration of gold in the ground is low, processing is often slow, complex and involves multiple phases,” said Ted da Silva, Senior Consultant – Metallurgy: Operations, Gold Fields. “Tracking and accounting the raw data at every stage of the processing phase involved a vast array of spreadsheets that were time consuming to generate and maintain and difficult to trace.”
Gold Fields metallurgists consequently spent a disproportionate amount of time at the computer manually entering and validating data and calculation results instead of focusing their attention on plant optimization, which is their primary job.
Da Silva said a lack of standard reporting across all of its mines meant Gold Fields was continually compensating for the uncertainty of the data’s accuracy. “The business was unable to monitor how the operations were performing due to poor performance visibility and this has led to audit issues, but importantly this prevented site level management and corporate technical management from identifying opportunities for performance improvements.”
Another challenge Gold Fields faced was the geographically dispersed nature of its operations.
“Having sites in remote areas as far apart as Ghana and Peru presented a number of communication barriers. With no enforced reporting standard across the sites, it was difficult for us to get a timely, realistic picture of the true performance of our operations across the board.”
“The use of spreadsheets also prevented us from easily forecasting long-term trends or analyzing the outcomes of our initiatives to improve performance.”
In addition, Gold Fields was missing a vital link between the production and finance areas of the business that could enable it to accurately calculate and report on final product valuation, throughput, in-process inventories and the financial impact of the change in metal grade or other process parameters.
Gold Fields needed a trustworthy metal accounting system that could collect and analyze information, provide clear data to generate financial reports and allow it to maximize profitability. It also needed a system that could alert it to performance issues, allowing it to fix problems quickly.
After a thorough evaluation, Gold Fields selected Ventyx Production Accounting to help improve the traceability of its gold from mine to market.
“Ventyx 30 years of experience in the mining industry and its role in the AMIRA P754 Code of Practice for Metal Accounting were key factors in our decision. This gave us certainty that Ventyx could help us create rigorous new metal accounting procedures embedded in a single platform to optimize our plant performance,” said da Silva.
“We chose Ventyx Production Accounting to provide us with a streamlined, integrated solution that could generate the timely and accurate data we needed across our entire global operations so we could better understand how our organization was performing.”
Gold Fields bought the license for Ventyx Production Accounting in June 2008 and two months later began implementing the solution across its remotely located sites in Ghana, Peru and Australia, with current implementations underway for their South African operations.
“Ventyx Production Accounting makes it so much faster and easier for our plant metallurgists and production managers to compile reliable production and inventory reports. Compared to using spreadsheets which was so time consuming, with Ventyx we’re racking up enormous efficiency gains.”
"With Ventyx Production Accounting, our plant metallurgists are able to compile reliable production and inventory reports around 95% faster than when we were using spreadsheets, enabling us to focus on improving plant performance rather than reporting."
TED DA SILVA
SENIOR CONSULTANT – METALLURGY: OPERATIONS
By having a single solution across the entire global operation, Gold Fields now has clear procedures for generating production reports from each site, which provides the visibility and transparency necessary for a modern gold miner.
“An immediate benefit for us was the reduction in the time and effort it took to generate better and more consistent reports. If we were using spreadsheets, we may need to enter the data 20 times, emailing it back and forth, creating multiple versions.
“Since we implemented Ventyx Product Accounting, the time it takes to close out month end has gone from a couple of days to a couple of hours. That’s around 5% of the time it used to take us using spreadsheets.”
Another major improvement has been in the performance of each mine.
“Now that we’re receiving more rigorous reports we can understand what we’re measuring, our plant performance is much more efficient. As soon as we implemented Ventyx Production Accounting, several inaccuracies in our previous calculations were immediately identified and rectified.”
By using an integrated metal accounting platform across all sites that can be accessed by authorized users throughout the business, Gold Fields is now able to put in place more holistic performance measures to drive profits, instead of relying on just tonnage.
“By improving the visibility and management of our data across the organization, our decision-making is faster and smarter. Ventyx Production Accounting helps us bridge the gap between production managers at each site, corporate technical services and the financial managers at head office. Our operations are now more streamlined, providing greater opportunities to improve production while at the same time reduce operating costs and capital expenditures.
“By using Ventyx Production Accounting as a mechanism for implementing best practice calculations and business processes, we can ensure each Gold Fields processing plant is providing consistent results.
Ventyx Production Accounting gives Gold Fields the added reassurance of using best practice methodologies for complying with regulatory standards in reporting on financial performance.
“Ventyx Production Accounting gives us and an end-to-end, unbroken audit trail with quick and easy access to the numbers. We know the data is reliable and trustworthy, giving us the confidence we can meet audit requirements at any stage of the process.”
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