AngloGold Ashanti achieved guidance for the fifth straight year in 2017 as it achieved a 4% increase in production, progressed the restructuring of its South African portfolio and advanced its brownfield projects according to plan – all whilst generating $125m in free cash flow before growth investment.
Its outlook for 2018 sees improvements across key metrics and also a decision to move ahead with redevelopment of its Obuasi Gold Mine in Ghana, subject to Parliamentary ratification.
Production rose to 3.755Moz at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,054/oz in the 12 months through to 31 December 2017, from 3.628Moz at $986/oz in the previous year, despite restructuring in South Africa.
Stronger year-on-year operating performance from the International Operations helped to more than offset a lower output from South Africa, where an agreement was reached to sell the Moab Khotsong and Kopanang mines, and where TauTona is undergoing an orderly closure process.
“We delivered a strong production and cost performance, which ultimately funded our reinvestment and restructuring programme,” says Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, AngloGold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer.
“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 strong operating and financial performance in 2017 has further strengthened the foundation for AngloGold Ashanti’s future.
The slate of high-return projects – all with attractive payback periods – is expected to deliver higher-margin production, extend lives and improve predictability at key assets.
Production from operations is set to improve in 2018, as are all-in sustaining costs, while capital expenditure is expected to fall despite the decision to reinvest at Obuasi.
Headline earnings for the year were $27 million or 6% per share, compared with $111 million or 27 cents per share in 2016.
Headline earnings for 2017 includes the impact of retrenchment provisions in the South Africa region of $71 million (post-tax) and the provision for silicosis claims of $46 million (post-tax). Excluding the impact of the abnormal items, headline earnings would have increased from $27 million to $144 million.