Floods force Goldfields shutdown

Parts of the Goldfields ground to a halt yesterday after torrential rain caused widespread flooding.

South African miner Gold Fields stopped work at its St Ives operations near Kambalda. All underground staff were brought to the surface and open pit operations were halted.

Gold Fields, WA's second-biggest gold producer behind US giant Newmont, said its Granny Smith, Agnew, Lawlers and Darlot mines in the northern Goldfields were only running milling operations.

The Goldfields Highway between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Kambalda was closed yesterday, forcing Silver Lake Resources to shut its Daisy Milano underground operations and Randalls mill.

Only key personnel were on site operating pumping stations and it was unclear yesterday when normal operations would resume.

"The information I am getting is you can barely see the road or trees - we will have to wait for the water to recede," Silver Lake director Chris Banasik said.

Silver Lake, which produced 151,296 ounces of gold at its WA operations last year, said its Lakewood mill was not affected.

Chinese-owned Norton Gold Fields shut its Homestead underground mine and its Enterprise, Green Gums and Golden Flag pits, but kept its Paddington mill running at full capacity.

La Mancha Resources shut down operations early yesterday at its Frog's Leg gold mine, 20km west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, but management said the flooding was not severe.

Glencore's Murrin Murrin nickel mine near Leonora stopped mining operations after its on-site rain gauge recorded 90mm in two days, but its processing plant was still operating.

"We were bracing for the forecasts which predicted 150 to 200mm so we've been quite lucky," Murrin Murrin general manager Wayne Ashworth said.

St Barbara, whose shares fell 9.8 per cent to 32¢ yesterday after reporting further teething problems with its Pacific operations, said its Gwalia and King of the Hills mines near Leonora were not hit. They produced a combined 69,757oz for the December quarter.

Independence Group's Jaguar and Bentley copper-zinc-silver mines were running normally.

It was also business as usual at Saracen's Red October underground mine, and the miner's Carosue Dam plant was also operating.

KCGM closed some areas of Kalgoorlie-Boulder's Super Pit due to heavy rain, while AngloGold Ashanti's Sunrise Dam and Tropicana mines were still operating

The West Australian

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