AngloGold Ashanti Production Only Down Slightly in 2016

AngloGold Ashanti delivered a steady operating and financial performance in the second half of 2016, with production coming in at 1.9 million ounces (oz) compared to 2 million oz in 2015. This operating result was achieved despite safety-related stoppages that impacted output by roughly 60,000 oz, planned lower grades at Geita and Tropicana, and the Obuasi mine having been on care and maintenance since last year. These negative production factors were partly offset by a focus on tight cost control, a 14% higher realized gold price, and weaker currencies in some jurisdictions, the company said.

All-in sustaining costs for second half of 2016 was $1,058/oz, higher than the $897/oz for the second half of 2015 due mainly to lower gold ounces sold, higher overall cash costs, higher brownfields exploration costs and increased sustaining capital expenditure, AngloGold said.

Adjusted EBITDA of $767 million, increased by 13% in the second half of 2016 compared to $679 million in the second half of 2015, due to the 14% increase in the average gold price received, which was partially offset by a 5% reduction in ounces sold over this period.

Proven and probable gold reserves at year-end of 50.1 million oz substantially offsets depletion during the year. The number of fatal accidents across the group’s operations reduced by more than a third compared with 2015. Six operating fatalities were recorded in South Africa during 2016 and another in Brazil. Despite these setbacks, significant safety milestones were achieved last year including a fatality-free fourth quarter across all business units; 1 million fatality-free shifts at Mponeng, Kopanang and Moab Khotsong; as well as 2-million fatality-free shifts for the Vaal River Region, the company said. Moab Khotsong achieved a full calendar year without a fatality in September and the Surface Operations unit achieved a full year with no lost-time injury.

“There is no higher priority for Anglo- Gold Ashanti than the safety of every one of its employees,” the company said. “We believe that through close cooperation among stakeholders and fair application of regulations with due regard to proportionality, as well as continued vigilance in an unpredictable operating environment, we can further improve safety performance.” Production guidance for 2017 year is estimated to be between 3.6 million and 3.755 million oz. Total cash costs are estimated to be between $750/oz and $800/oz and AISC between $1,050/oz and $1,100/oz.

Capital expenditure is anticipated to be between $950 million and $1.05 billion with reinvestment at Cuiaba, in Brazil; Iduapriem in Ghana, to strip waste rock from the Teberebie ore body to extend mine life, and lower cash costs; Geita, in Tanzania, to replace the mine’s original 20-year old power plant to ensure reliable electricity supply, and also continue the ramp-up of underground production in advance of depletion of open-pit ore in the future; at Sunrise Dam, in Australia, where investment in plant modifications are expected to improve gold recoveries; and at Kibali, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where additional ore reserve development will be conducted ahead of a ramp-up in underground production.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 03 -