Gold Fields boss Nick Holland says he will not rule out buying more Australian gold mines, but believes the South African miner needs to "digest" its most recent purchases before getting back out on the acquisition trail.
Speaking in Perth on his first visit to the State after cutting a $US300 million ($336.6 million) deal to buy Barrick Gold's South Yilgarn operation - including the Granny Smith, Lawlers and Darlot mines - Mr Holland said the company was always on the lookout for acquisitions that would add to its cash flow.
He described the Barrick buy as a "contrarian" move given investors had fled the gold sector, and said it showed Gold Fields' confidence in both the assets and the future of the gold industry.
Barrick is believed to be looking for buyers for the rest of its Australian mines, including its half-share in Kalgoorlie's Super Pit and the Kanowna group of mines.
Mr Holland said Gold Fields did not discuss the purchase of other Barrick assets during negotiations over Yilgarn South, but the company would be "one of the parties that would have a look" if they came on the market.
Gold Fields has also been linked to interest in AngloGold Ashanti's Sunrise Dam operation, but Mr Holland played down the likelihood of more near-term corporate activity.
"I think our main focus now is to digest these assets and focus on how we can add more value before we think of anything else at this point in time," he said.
Gold Fields is expected to take control of Yilgarn South in early October and, after driving down costs at its Agnew and St Ives mines by cutting about 390 jobs - or nearly a quarter of its local workforce - Mr Holland said Gold Fields would be looking closely at staffing levels at its new acquisitions.
"Clearly we have to assess what we believe is the right staffing level," he said."I can't tell you today what we think the staffing levels will be. We'll have a look at that in the context of where we want the mines to go but obviously we have to reassess it."