AngloGold loses 11,000oz to coronavirus in March quarter

AngloGold Ashanti opted to keep its Argentina mines instead of selling them as the Covid-19 global pandemic cut 11,000oz of production from first quarter group production.
AngloGold Ashanti opted to keep its Argentina mines instead of selling them as the Covid-19 global pandemic cut 11,000oz of production from first quarter group production.
Image: KAREN MOOLMAN

AngloGold Ashanti opted to keep its Argentina mines instead of selling them as the Covid-19 global pandemic cut 11,000oz of production from first quarter group production.

AngloGold, one of the world’s largest gold miners with 14 mines in nine countries, cited this diversity as the reason for the relatively small loss of production in the first quarter to the pandemic.

Group gold output for the March quarter was 716,000oz against 752,000oz for the same quarter a year earlier.

Its Serra Grande mine in Brazil, Cerro Vanguardia in Argentina and its South African mines were interrupted during the quarter as governments in those countries took measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

AngloGold, under the leadership of Kelvin Dushnisky, has opted to retain the Cerro Vanguardia mines, one of three big asset sales that marked the start of his tenure in September 2018.

... it has been concluded that the maximum potential value from the remaining resource endowment of the operation will be better realised inside the AngloGold Ashanti

“After an extensive sale process and thorough review of the offers received, it has been concluded that the maximum potential value from the remaining resource endowment of the operation will be better realised inside the AngloGold Ashanti,” the company said.

Cerro Vanguardia's output fell by 13% to 45,000oz during the quarter because of disruptions coming from the pandemic and lower grades.

The sale of the South African assets to Harmony Gold is nearing its completion date at the end of June, while the sale of the Sadiola joint venture operation in Mali is under way.

The disruptions from the pandemic were offset by strong performances in the quarter from three mines in Africa, Kibali, Geita and Iduapriem in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Ghana respectively.

AngloGold has planned for minimal disruptions to its operations by building up four months’ worth of inventories of critical spares and supplies at all its mines, while ensuring there were ore stockpiles to continue feeding processing plants.

AngloGold used private aircraft to fly gold from African operations to Rand Refinery in SA for processing and then overseas to clients, ensuring a “seamless” flow of gold, it said.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) increased by 54% to $473m in the first quarter of 2020, from $307m in the first quarter of 2019.

Operating cash flows more than tripled to $219m.

Capital expenditure came in at $90m, with $53m of that going to Obuasi, the replanned and redeveloped underground gold mine in Ghana.


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