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Gold output 'will drop for safety reasons'

South Africa's second-biggest gold producer has said it expects output to fall as it strives to improve safety measures within its mines.

Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said South African output will drop by 13 per cent, or 72,000 ounces, for the September quarter as repairs and maintenance are carried out.

"We will not mine if we cannot mine safely," Mr Holland commented.

Nine fatalities occurred on May 1st at the Deep South mine when an elevator cable snapped 1.8 miles underground.

Meanwhile, the main shaft at the Kloof mine will be suspended for about six months to replace steelwork, cutting output by as much as 35 per cent, Mr Holland said.

The news could act in support of gold prices as it is part of a worldwide trend in decreased production at a time when demand continues to increase.

In January, power outages in South Africa reduced the country's gold output by 827,000 ounces, Bloomberg reported.

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