(Bloomberg) -- Gold Fields Ltd. aims to increase production by a fifth over the next two years as a major project in Chile finally starts up and the company’s last asset in South Africa increases output. 

Salares Norte — a $1.2 billion open-pit mine at altitudes of up to 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) in Chile – is due to start producing gold in April following a series of delays, Gold Fields said Thursday. The miner has also improved the performance of its South Deep operation in South Africa, it said.

The company has diversified away from its base in South Africa, where producers are struggling with the challenges of extracting gold from the world’s deepest mines. Output from Gold Fields’s eight operating mines, from Australia and Ghana to Peru, declined slightly to 2.3 million ounces last year.

Gold Fields fell as much as 6.8% in Johannesburg trading, after its 2023 profit of $703.3 million missed the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Still, the miner’s shares have gained 56% since November 2022, when it terminated efforts to buy Yamana Gold Inc., denting a plan to expand in the Americas. 

The miner will only consider “small M&A,” Mike Fraser, who took over as chief executive last month, said in an interview.

The company – which disposed of all but one of its South African assets a decade ago – is developing a Canadian joint venture that could enter production in 2026. It’s also seeking government permission to merge one of its Ghanaian mines with a neighboring project run by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.

Gold Fields is considering options for its Damang mine in Ghana, which has two years of stockpiles left to process. While investment could extend the asset’s life, “it’s probably not for us,” Fraser said. The company last year sold its stake in another mine in the West African country.  

(Updated with CEO comments from fifth paragraph)

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