AngloGold Ashanti delivers on strategic objectives

AngloGold Ashanti Limited delivered on its strategic objectives in 2022, achieving improvements in production, cash flow and safety performance, while holding cost increases at around half the inflation rate.

The company, one of the best in the word, also indicated that its mineral reserve additions again exceeded depletion.

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A report to the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) which was released to shareholders revealed that the company’s gold production of 2.742 million troy ounces (Moz) in the year through December 31 was an 11 per cent improvement versus gold production of 2.472Moz in 2021, ending 2022 at the top half of guidance.

The company also met guidance for total capital expenditure and all-in sustaining costs (“AISC”), while total cash costs ended less than one per cent above the guidance range amid inflation at multi-decade highs.

According to AngloGold, its operational result was underpinned by strong performances across most of the portfolio, with the Obuasi gold mine in Ghana meeting targeted production of 250,000oz as it continues on the ramp-up path to its full production run-rate in excess of 400,000oz.

That target is expected to be met by the end of 2024.

Cost control was another highlight in the year under review as the company’s record, as the report indicated, was dominated by the highest inflation rates in more than 40 years.

In spite of this, total cash costs per ounce increased six per cent to $1,024/oz for 2022 compared to $963/oz for 2021.

The increase in AISC was limited to only two per cent year-on-year to $1,383/ oz in 2022, from $1,355/oz in 2021.

The company explained that exploration success of the previous three years continued, with the addition of 12.2Moz of mineral reserve, pre-depletion, during that period making it the sixth consecutive year AngloGold Ashanti has achieved a positive net outcome.

The company’s Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (“TRIFR”) of 1.26 injuries per million hours worked in 2022 improved compared to 2021, and remains far better than the average 2021 performance of 2.90 injuries per million hours worked by the members of the International Council on Metals and Minerals.

The company reported that “No fatalities were recorded during the calendar year ended  December 31, 2022 at the mines operated by the company, for the second time in the company’s history.”

The company reported that adjusted earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were marginally lower at $1.797bn in 2022, from $1.801bn in 2021.

It recorded free cash flow of $657m in 2022, compared to $104m in 2021.

The balance sheet remained in a solid position after funding capital expenditure, two property acquisitions in Nevada and paying an interim dividend.

There was approximately $2.5bn in liquidity, including cash and cash equivalents of $1.1bn, at year end.

“It’s been a year of significant progress, with the right Operating Model and the right people in the right place.

We delivered on our production and cost commitments to the market and have begun to regain cost competitiveness versus our peers,” Chief Executive Officer Alberto Calderon said in the release.

“We’re seeing good progress in a number of places which confirm we’re on the right track,” he added.

Operating model

In the period under review, AngloGold Ashanti introduced new members to its senior leadership team, and redesigned its operating model, as it progressed its strategy to narrow the cost gap with peers.

The company has started an asset optimisation programme while self-funding its successful exploration programmes as well as developing mining projects in Ghana and Nevada.

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