Bloomberg News

Gold Fields Reaches Kyrgyzstan Pact After Horsemen Attack

January 16, 2012

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Gold Fields Ltd., the world’s fourth-biggest gold producer, aims to restart drilling at its exploration project in Kyrgyzstan within three months after it signed a partnership agreement with local villagers following an attack on its camp by armed horsemen.

Plans to resume drilling at the Talas copper and gold project were halted in October after the attack and after leaders at a nearby village were threatened with death if they cooperated with the company. Drilling has been disrupted since April 2010 following political instability in the central Asian state, David Grant, head of the operation, said in an interview from Kyrgyzstan today.

“We are now back in a stable situation and we look forward to being able to drill continuously once we start,” Grant said. “Our license agreement runs through to 2015 so we still have time to fulfill the full drilling program.”

Under the new agreement, Gold Fields will give priority to local residents when hiring new staff and will implement economic and social programs to develop the region in return for carrying out its exploration work.

--Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Alastair Reed

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Gunnion in Johannesburg at sgunnion@bloomberg.net and Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net


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