AngloGold Ashanti posted a strong first-quarter performance, with lower debt and improvements in both production and all-in sustaining costs, driving wider margins and stronger cash flows.
Production of 824,000 ounce of gold at all-in sustaining cost of $1,029/ounce in the three months through March 31, compared with 830,000oz at AISC of $1,060/ounce 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, production rose 6% to 773,000oz at an AISC of $1,002/ounce, 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,” Chief Executive Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, said.
“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 an ounce, with AISC improving further to $950/ounce from $963/ounce in the first quarter of last year, as the continued focus on operating efficiencies gains momentum.
Standout performers include Sunrise Dam in Australia which recorded a 54% increase in production, and Tropicana, Kibali, Iduapriem and Serra Grande. In South Africa, the smaller and more focused footprint delivered an encouraging performance as production from Mponeng increased 29%.
The company further improved its balance sheet after applying asset-sale proceeds to reduce South Africa debt. Net Debt to adjusted EBITDA improved to 1.14 times, down from 1.35 times at the end of 2017.
By Adu Koranteng