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AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues

South Africa-based gold major AngloGold Ashanti is expecting its strongest free cash flow performance in nearly a decade, interim CEO Christine Ramon said in a year-end update.
AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues AngloGold 'on track' as CEO search continues

AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi redevelopment in Ghana is expected to reach full production next year

Staff reporter

The company also said it was on track to meet revised 2020 guidance and was set to make an investment decision in 2021 on Quebradona in Colombia, which could mark its entry to the copper sector.

It's aiming to produce 3.03-3.1 million ounces of gold this year, with all-in sustaining costs between US$1,060-$1,120/oz.

Ramon, who stepped into the role on September 1 on an interim basis to replace outgoing Kelvin Dushnisky, said the company's operations had done "an exceptional job" keeping people and communities safe through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, while delivering on production and keeping costs down.

"This was possible due to our work over the year to deliver on our strategic objectives and optimising the portfolio to focus on quality assets in target jurisdictions," she said on Friday.

"Given the momentum we've built, I'm excited about the year ahead as we continue to execute on our organic growth plans, including adding more low-cost ounces through our focused ore reserve investment programme, ongoing brownfields development, and two potential new greenfield projects in Colombia."

AngloGold said it intended to make investment decisions "in the coming year" on the two in Colombia, namely its Minera Cobre Quebradona copper-gold project and its Gramalote joint venture with operator B2Gold.

Quebradona would take AngloGold into the copper business, Ramon pointed out.

Elsewhere, phase two of the company's Obuasi redevelopment in Ghana was 82% complete and the plus-20-year mine was due to reach full production in the second half of 2021, producing an annual average 350,000-400,000oz of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $800-$850/oz.

Ore reserve replacement was a key company strategy and COO international Ludwig Eybers said Sunrise Dam in Western Australia was "a great example" of how its focus on scaling-up development and reserves would improve mining flexibility and increase life.

"We're making progress in creating this virtuous circle across our portfolio," he said.

The company had last month announced it would double its dividend payout ratio based on robust free cashflow.

It also expected its ratio of adjusted net debt to adjusted EBITDA to end the year below its September levels of 0.36 times, well below the company's target of one times through the cycle, and among the lowest of its global gold peers.

AngloGold said it was working on a new climate strategy and emission targets, expected in the second half of 2021.

It expected its annual scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions to fall 45% after the sale this year of its South Africa assets

The company said a global search for a CEO was underway and the board was considering internal and external candidates.

It had appointed independent non-executive director Maria Ramos chair earlier this month to replace long-time chairman Sipho Pityana.

Four of the company's nine-member board are women.

AngloGold's shares (JSE: ANG) closed down 0.76% on Friday to R342.80, towards the lower end of a one-year range of R209.79-637.35.

It's capitalised about R141 billion (US$9.6 billion).