Multinational gold miner AngloGold Ashanti revealed that its full-year adjusted headline earnings stood at an impressive US$924 million (R8.25 billion), the second-highest on record, despite a challenging year that saw wildcat strikes and safety stoppages causing significant disruptions at its South African operations.The company said that these results were attributed to a number of factors, including its operations in the Americas, which saw annual production rising from 891 000 to 953 000 oz, as well as its Australian operations, which saw an output increase from 246 000 to 258 000 oz. AngloGold Ashanti pointed out that these improved production results in these regions were offset by the labour relations turmoil experienced at its South African operations. “We’ve moved decisively to ensure that we continue a strong recovery from a difficult end to last year,” conceded AngloGold Ashanti’s interim CEO, Tony O’Neill. Meanwhile, the gold major said that exploration spending across the group had been rationalised, corporate and operating costs placed under review, and some of its assets deemed to be non-core were being considered for sale. Further, in October last year the company took a decision to terminate its underground development contract with Mining and Building Contractors Limited at its Obuasi mine in Ghana, in an effort to improve production and costs.
“Our focus is on improving margins and delivering returns, rather than production growth, and that will continue to drive our decision making,” noted Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, joint interim CEO at AngloGold Ashanti.The main greenfield projects at Tropicana, Australia, and the Kibali joint venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo remain on track to produce gold within a year, while the expansion of Cripple Creek & Victor in the US also remain on schedule. “AngloGold Ashanti continues to deliver the best returns on capital among the gold majors, which reflects strict discipline in capital deployment over the past five years. That has been the core to our strategy since early 2008, when we outlined our vision for the company,” explains Mark Cutifani, outgoing CEO of AngloGold Ashanti.