Gold Fields West Africa : Ore Inspiring Procurement

Ed BuddsThomas Arnold
Ed Budds - Editor Thomas Arnold - Senior Head of Projects

Changing the game for responsible, socially beneficial mining is Gold Fields West Africa. We discover the company’s aims to enhance communities whilst simultaneously growing the African economy.


As an incredibly resource-rich continent, Africa requires a major shift and restructuring to be able to adequately create and share value with stakeholders, especially local communities where mining companies operate. The vast continent boasts a variety of minerals and resources with world-class companies operating mines across Africa.  

“It is a widely known fact that Africa should be more advanced in development than it is today and all stakeholders in the industry have a role to play to ensure that mining benefits people, communities and countries,” opens Joshua Mortoti, Executive Vice President of Gold Fields West Africa (Gold Fields). 

Therefore, it is important for countries to review and reform minerals and mining policies and enforce them strictly to ensure that proceeds from these complex operations support development and benefit host communities across Africa.  

“As the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, I know that producing member companies make significant contributions to the state in terms of corporate income taxes, mineral royalties, employee pay-as-you-earn, as well as corporate social investment,” he continues. 

If these contributions are put to good use, there should be noticeable transformation in community development across Africa.   

Modernisation and smart mining will ultimately prove to be vital if Africa is to transform into a competitive mining hub. Globally, the industry is increasingly adopting smart ways of mining, through innovation and technology, to boost production and improve safety.  

Parallel to this, as the industry continues to grow in Africa, it presents vast opportunities to create and share value with all stakeholders, including investors, communities, employees, suppliers, as well as other sectors dependent on mining.  

Therefore, it is important for countries to review and reform minerals and mining policies and enforce them strictly to ensure that proceeds from these complex operations support development and benefit host communities across Africa. 

Most importantly, the business environment must be market-friendly and well-regulated so it can be conducive to attract more investment in Africa’s mining sector.  

Mortoti defines the constantly growing mining sector as both challenging and fascinating in equal measure – one of the key reasons he first became interested in the industry.  

“Apart from the economic value the industry offers, there are daily challenges that need to be resolved to ensure safe production and you get a sense of relief when you have achieved your targets. It makes you aim high and become confident in your ability to overcome adversity.”


Sitting comfortably within the top tier of the African mining sector is Gold Fields, one of the largest private sector companies in Ghana which currently controls 90 percent of the Tarkwa and Damang gold mines. The Ghanaian government owns the remaining 10 percent through a free-carry interest.  

Gold Fields took over total control of the Tarkwa mine from the State Gold Mining Company (SGMC) in 1993 and acquired full ownership of the Damang mine in 2011. Fast forward to 2018, and the company bought 45 percent of the Asanko mine, a joint venture (JV) managed by Galiano Gold, which controls the other 45 percent of the mine, with the government holding the remaining 10 percent. 

“Our Tarkwa and Damang mines are in the western region of the nation, whilst the Asanko mine is in the Ashanti region of Ghana,” introduces Mortoti. 

The Tarkwa and Damang mines now employ a total workforce of almost 7,000 employees and contractors, with about 70 percent hailing from the company’s stakeholder communities. These communities are either directly or indirectly impacted by the operations of the two mines.  

In a wider context, Gold Fields forms part of Gold Fields Limited, a globally diversified gold producer with mines and projects in Australia, Chile, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. 


Gold Fields is currently leveraging a focus on innovation and technology to improve safety, optimise assets, increase gold production, reduce costs and lower its carbon footprint.  

As an industry leader, Gold Fields’ strategic intent in Ghana is to increase gold production to one million ounces annually without any injuries sustained.  

“To achieve our production and safety targets, we have begun a modernisation journey through the adoption of technologies for mining, processing and power generation,” acclaims Mortoti. 

One project that the company expects to greatly contribute towards this success is the installation of a fatigue management system in haul trucks to improve operator alertness and prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities.  

“We are currently piloting battery electric vehicles (EVs) at the Tarkwa mine to understand their suitability for mining operations. Once we determine that EVs are robust enough for the mining environment, we intend to gradually replace all diesel light vehicles with electric ones,” he adds. 

Last year, Gold Fields converted diesel-powered elusion heaters to natural gas at the carbon-in-leach plant at the Tarkwa mine and now expects to expand the project this year by converting diesel-powered kilns to natural gas. These projects are part of a strategy to cut diesel usage to enable Gold Fields to reduce carbon emissions and save costs. 

Elsewhere, a transformation project is also underway to extend the life of the mine at the Tarkwa facility beyond its projected 14 years. Gold Fields continues to conduct various pre-feasibility studies to determine an economically viable option to expand the resource and reserve base of its valuable Tarkwa asset.  

“This project is key to the sustainability of Gold Fields’ operations in Ghana, as it will enable us to increase gold production annually and extend Tarkwa’s life-of-mine,” Mortoti tells us.


Gold Fields’ unrelenting purpose is to ‘create enduring value beyond mining’.  

This purpose statement – the company’s first – was launched in December 2021 and continues to guide its strategies and actions.  

“It means we create value which is sustainable and lasts beyond our mining activities to benefit our stakeholders, including our host communities, through developmental and shared value programmes and projects,” Mortoti describes.  

The Gold Fields Ghana Foundation funds these socio-economic development programmes and projects, focusing on health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, as well as infrastructure. The Foundation’s activities range from scholarships, apprenticeships and graduate traineeships to farmer support through the Youth in Horticulture Production, mushroom, cocoa and oil palm programmes, as well as the construction of roads, schools and clinics.  

A flagship project, the 360-bed girls’ dormitory for the Huni Valley Senior High School, has recently been officially handed over to the school. The facility includes four apartments for teachers and cost USD$980,000. The new dormitory will help to ease congestion in the boarding school, where about 65 percent of the student population is female. 

Another flagship project, the Tarkwa & Abosso sports stadium, is also set to be handed over in the first half of this year.  

The 10,400-capacity international standard stadium costs USD$16.2 million. The stadium will hopefully help to unearth sports talent in the surrounding communities and boost the local economy through ancillary businesses linked to sports events.   

“The Foundation’s overarching aim is to ensure that the communities benefit from the value we create and has so far invested over USD$92.3 million in community development since it was established in 2004.” 


A critical component of sustainability in mining is environmental stewardship, which is the responsible use and protection of the environment through the implementation of best conservation practices. 

“In line with our overarching vision, we strictly adhere to regulatory requirements, best practices and international standards in environmental management,” details Mortoti. 

When visiting Gold Fields’ mines, it’s impossible to miss the evidence of the company’s proactiveness to restore land that is no longer being mined, conserving biodiversity and protecting water bodies around mining areas.  

The rehabilitated South Tailings Storage Facility at its Damang mine, for instance, now has cash crops, including oil palm, cocoa, coconut, citrus, leguminous trees, maize, cocoyam, plantain and vegetables, all of which are accessible to people from the surrounding communities.  

“We organise regular open days to showcase our rehabilitation projects to our communities, regulators and other stakeholders, and also address concerns they might have,” he continues.


Gold Fields has worked tirelessly to put in place robust local content and host community procurement and employment strategies to support the development of local businesses and the hiring of community members to work at the company. 

“In 2022, 94 percent of our total procurement spend went to Ghanaian suppliers, 42 percent of which went to host community suppliers,” Mortoti elaborates. 

Through these partnerships with local suppliers, Ghanaian-owned businesses, such as GASO and ZEN Petroleum, have been able to expand their fuel supply enterprises, while GENSER Energy, which supplies us with electricity, has grown exponentially since we started using them. Likewise, Western Transport Services (WTS), a local company which offers transportation services to Gold Fields’ mines, has been able to grow and expand its services, giving free rides to children over the years as a result of this fruitful partnership.  

“We help to train their staff on safety, emergency response, maintenance and business development to ensure sustainability,” he adds. 

The reason for Gold Fields providing this is not just to comply with local regulations, but because it believes that when local businesses are supported and empowered to expand their operations, more jobs will be created in its host communities and the wider country at large. This creates economic wellbeing in neighbouring communities and strengthens Gold Fields’ social licence to operate. 


Gold Fields’ employees are its most valuable asset, and the company regularly invests in improving their capabilities and developing their potential through structured technical skills training, as well as tailored professional and leadership development programmes.  

“Our learning and development department ensures that we have a fully functional, competent and safety-conscious workforce to help us achieve our strategic objectives,” Mortoti tells us. 

Through its diversity and inclusion programme, Gold Fields is empowering its female colleagues and providing them with access to all occupations. Female employees who demonstrate excellent leadership potential are then coached, mentored and supported to take up future leadership roles.  

This is one of the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments, where Gold Fields has a target to increase women’s representation in its workforce to 30 percent by 2030.  

“Although we are not there yet, we have consistently improved in this area over the years, reaching 11 percent in 2022. We have put in place structures and programmes to enable us to confidently achieve this target by 2030,”  Mortoti says. 


Gold Fields has identified several business objectives to target in 2023, such as optimising its existing assets, sustaining its operations and taking its current business to the next level.  

“As such, we are undergoing a major restructuring to design a new operating model in the country. In addition, we have been exploring other value accretive opportunities to expand and improve the quality of our portfolio,” details Mortoti. 

Vitally, this strategic goal will be underpinned by safe production – which means the company aims to achieve its production targets without endangering the safety and wellbeing of its employees and contractors.  

“We are committed that if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine at all and we are aggressively working towards safe production every day,” he finishes optimistically.

“We are committed that if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine at all and we are aggressively working towards safe production every day”

Joshua Mortoti, EVP, Gold Fields West Africa 
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By Thomas Arnold Senior Head of Projects
Tom Arnold is Senior Head of Projects for Mining Outlook. Tom is responsible for sourcing and showcasing mining features from across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Tom also works on our Africa Outlook, EME Outlook, and APAC Outlook b2b magazines.