AngloGold Ashanti today, Monday, 21 September 2020, reinstated annual guidance given improved operating certainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in anticipation of the conclusion of the sale of its South African assets at the end of this month.
On 14 September 2020, it was announced that all conditions precedent have been met with respect to the sale of its remaining mines in South Africa (“the transaction”) to Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (“Harmony”).
Consequently, the transaction is scheduled to close in accordance with the transaction agreement on 30 September 2020, upon which Harmony will assume full ownership and operation of all assets and liabilities that form part of the transaction.
“We’re pleased to reintroduce guidance, which reflects our greater certainty in relation to full-year operating performance,” said Christine Ramon, AngloGold Ashanti’s interim Chief Executive Officer.
“Our operators have done an outstanding job managing through this period – limiting the impact of COVID-19 on production and costs, while prioritising the health of our employees and host communities.”
Annual guidance on financial and operating metrics was withdrawn on 27 March 2020 as the pandemic accelerated and many governments responded by restricting travel, closing borders and ordering some businesses to cease or limit operations.
The Cerro Vanguardia mine in Argentina, Serra Grande in Brazil and all South African operations were ordered to close for varying periods, while border closures slowed down the Obuasi Redevelopment Project.
All subsequently returned to full production, whilst the completion date for the Obuasi project was moved out by three months to the end of the first quarter next year and it remains on track to meet that schedule.
The company benefited from its diversified global portfolio and careful management during the intervening period, with the impact in the first half of the year limited to 85,000oz – or approximately 3% of production – and $53/oz, or approximately 5% of the all-in sustaining cost during the period.
Most of this impact was related to the South African assets, where the Mponeng mine was ordered to close from 26 March 2020 and only resumed production on 4 May 2020, after which it was initially allowed to ramp up to just 50% of capacity.
The mine was closed again on 24 May 2020 until 1 June 2020. AngloGold Ashanti has taken a number of proactive steps to protect our employees, our host communities and business, in line with the Company's values, guidelines and advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and with the requirements of the countries in which we operate.
The health and wellbeing of our employees and our host communities remains our key priority.
A cross-functional team, including operations, technical, finance, health, community, government relations and other support disciplines, is helping to guide the response to the crisis.
The Company has for some time employed increased screening and surveillance of employees, stopped nonessential travel, instituted mandatory quarantine for arriving travellers and increased hygiene awareness across its operations, in addition to a range of other measures to mitigate the risks presented by the virus.
It has also worked with local communities to help bolster their responses to the outbreak.
These initiatives have complemented government responses in each of its operating jurisdictions.
While we expect that these measures together with our business continuity plans will enable our operations to deliver in line with our production targets, we remain mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic, its impacts on communities and economies, and the actions authorities may take in response to it, are largely unpredictable