AngloGold Ashanti said on Tuesday its production rose 4 percent year-on-year in the year to December 2017, above the top end of guidance.
The company, the world’s third last producer of gold, said it had advanced the restructuring of its South African portfolio, executed key self-funded brownfield projects to sustainably improve mine lives and margins and achieved its annual cost, production and capital guidance for the fifth consecutive year.
“Production for the year of 3.755 Moz (million ounces) exceeded the top end of guidance and was 4 percent higher than the previous year’s production of 3.628 Moz despite the orderly closure of TauTona and Savuka,” it said.
“Stronger year-on-year operating performance across the international operations helped to more than offset the lower output from South Africa.”
The company said it had also delivered a strong exploration result, with most of the year’s production replaced given success across a broad front. The group ore reserve at the end of 2017 was 49.5 Moz, from 50.1 Moz in December 2016.
During the year, additions from Gramalote in Colombia, where a maiden reserve was declared, AGA Mineração in Brazil, Tropicana in Australia, Obuasi in Ghana and Cerro Vanguardia in Argentina, mostly offset the total depletion of 4.3 Moz.
AngloGold Ashanti said a slate of low capital, high-return brownfields projects – all with attractive payback periods – were expected to deliver further improvements to cash flows over time.
“We delivered a strong production and cost performance, which ultimately allowed us to self- fund our reinvestment and restructuring programme,” CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said.
“In ensuring we maintain focus on our long-term strategy, our portfolio improvement projects were again executed on time and on schedule, and we continued to make progress on improving safety.”
The company said a strong performance during the fourth quarter of the year at its international operations in particular, was a clear indication of the efforts to sustainably improve cash flows.
Improvements on most key metrics resulted in a 27 percent increase in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA over the prior year quarter and free cash flow of $74 million, an increase of 90 percent over the same period a year earlier.
– African News Agency (ANA)