South Africa gold producer Gold Fields will prioritise debt reduction over the next three years in light of a ‘surprising’ gold spot price downward trend this quarter, according to reports.

Gold Fields plans to cut its net debt by 2017 and the miner aims to boost cash flow from its international operations that includes mines in Australia and South Africa through cost cutting measures

Gold held close to its lowest in two months on Monday. The metal fell 1.8% last week, its biggest weekly fall in a month.

Strong position

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland told Bloomberg that the company is in a strong position to ‘aggressively’ pay down debt.

Holland said the company is in ‘good shape’ to beat the 2017 debt reduction targets – even at current gold prices.

Protecting balance sheet

By paying down debt, the company plans to protect its balance sheet from a decline in the price of bullion, which last year fell 28%, the biggest annual drop since 1981.

While gold has climbed 7.5% this year, it has retreated 23% since the start of 2013.  The gold price took a knock this week owing to strong US economic data and speculation of an early interest rate increase, which sent prices to their lowest in two months at $1 273.06 on Thursday.