Higher production helps AngloGold Ashanti fight inflation

Siguiri mine, in Guinea. (Image courtesy of AngloGold’s report to SEC, 2012.)

AngloGold Ashanti posted a 20% jump in third-quarter production on Thursday, helping it bring costs down by 6% from the same period a year earlier.

AngloGold, which mines in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea and Tanzania, produced 738,000 ounces of gold in the September quarter, boosting earnings by 5% to $472 million.

The miner said higher gold content in mined ore and efficiency gains helped offset the impact of rising inflation. Price increases for fuel and reagents used to process ore have eaten into earnings for many mining companies.

“Inflation impacts all of us, but we have to counter it as best as possible,” Chief Executive Officer Alberto Calderon told reporters on a call.

All-in sustaining costs – a measure of the overall cost of production – fell to $1,284 an ounce from $1,362 an ounce.

Rising ore grades across AngloGold Ashanti’s mines are the result of increased capital expenditure starting to come to fruition, driving greater predictability, Calderon said.

“Mine planners can optimise the mines in a better way,” he said.

The Obuasi mine in Ghana, which is increasing production, also contributed to the higher grades. Obuasi has a recovered grade of 7.3 grammes of gold per tonne, compared to a group average of 2.2 grammes per tonne.

AngloGold Ashanti’s Johannesburg-listed shares have fallen about 28% this year, weighed down by a decline in the price of gold.

Gold prices have tumbled to around $1,650 an ounce from above $2,000 in March, as the US Federal Reserve and other central banks raised interest rates rapidly to tackle soaring inflation.

(By Helen Reid; Editing by Tom Hogue, Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu)


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