Despite facing a number of challenges, including a stagnant gold price, mining giant AngloGold Ashanti has reported an operational performanceahead of market guidance for the three months to March 31.
The bullion producer reported output of 969,000 ounces (oz) of gold for the three months, exceeding its guidance of 900,000 oz to 940,000 oz.
Total cash costs were US$744/oz — 3% down year-on-year — and better than the targeted US$830/oz to US$860/oz.
“This is an exceptionally strong performance from our international portfolio in particular, and one taht shows the benefit of our diversified portfolio.
“We’ve continued to focus on delivering real operational efficiencies and tight cost management, while ensuring we benefit from weaker producer currencies and lower oil prices. It shows in these results,” CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat) said at a presentation of the company’s results.
However, the miner said its first-quarter adjusted headline earnings (AHE) were US$35million, or US$0.09 a share for the three months, compared with US$119million or US$0.29 a share in the same period in 2014.
This decrease was the result of lower ounces sold from Ghana, Namibia and South Africa, the lower gold price and a higher tax charge.
The company also reported a headline loss of US$1million — a significant improvement from the previous quarter’s loss of US$71million.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was US$409million compared with US$476million in the first quarter of 2014, with the reduction mainly owing to a 6% decrease in the gold price received and a 9% reduction in ounces sold.
Adjusted Ebitda was also higher than the previous quarter’s US$407million despite the markedly lower output from South Africa, given the lower costs quarter-on-quarter.
Production from AngloGold’s South African operations fell 18% year-on-year to 239,000oz for the quarter ended March 31, owing to safety stoppages at both the West Wits and Vaal River regions, which contributed to the 12% rise in all-in sustaining costs to US$1,095/oz and a 14% increase in total cash costs to US$911/oz.
Total cash costs were adversely impacted by lower production, despite currency weakness and efforts to contain inflationary pressures.
West Wits produced 93,000oz of gold at a total cash cost of US$977/oz for the quarter, compared with 128,000oz at a total cash cost of US$735/oz in the first quarter of last year.