Dual-listed AngloGold Ashanti posted a strong first-quarter performance, with lower debt and improvements in both production and AISC, driving wider margins and stronger cash flows.
Production of 824,000 oz at all-in sustaining cost of $1,029/oz in the three months through 31 March, compared with 830,000 oz at AISC of $1,060/oz in the first quarter of last year.
Production was little changed despite TauTona undergoing orderly closure and the sales of Moab Khotsong and Kopanang concluding a month before the end of the quarter.
Looking only at retained operations (operations excluding closed and sold operations), production rose 6% to 773,000 oz at an AISC of $1,002/oz, representing a margin of 25% to the gold price received for the period.
“Our hard work in restructuring the business to focus on portfolio quality is starting to bear
fruit as our operations are demonstrating strong, consistent results,” says CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan.
“The core portfolio is performing well, the balance sheet is solid, our projects are on schedule and we see good potential for further efficiencies in both our International and South African Operations.”
AngloGold Ashanti has restructured its portfolio to focus on higher-margin, longer-life assets, while investing in a series of brownfield projects with strong return profiles. The company has focused on tight cost control and disciplined capital allocation across its portfolio, which now has about 87% of production from its international operations.
With roughly a quarter of the full year’s guided production delivered in the seasonally weak first quarter, AngloGold Ashanti remains on track to meet its annual production, cost and capital guidance.
Production at the international operations increased 5% year-on-year to 666,000 oz, with
AISC improving further to $950/oz from $963/oz in the first quarter of last year, as the
continued focus on operating efficiencies gains momentum.
In South Africa, the smaller and more focused footprint delivered an encouraging
performance as production from Mponeng increased 29%, while rand-denominated all-in
sustaining costs fell 14%.
Restructuring of the asset portfolio in South Africa is still underway to ensure that both the on- and off-mine cost structures are appropriate for the size of the smaller production base in the country.
Regrettably, two fatalities were recorded during the quarter.
South Africa region suffered one fatality following a tramming accident at Moab Khotsong, and an electricity-related fatality occurred in Brazil.
These incidents are a reminder of the importance of adhering to our safety standards.
The group All-Injury Frequency Rate, the broadest measure of workplace safety, was 6.35
injuries per million hours worked for the period, down 28% from the first quarter of last year demonstrating improvement for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Sadiola and Geita passed the quarter without a single injury, demonstrating the potential possible when there is strong oversight and compliance to world-class standards.
Despite these setbacks, the company remains focused on this critical area of our business
and concerted efforts are underway to not only understand the cause of each of these
incidents, but also the root cause of other high potential incidents that could have resulted in fatalities.