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AngloGold Ashanti to increase production at Western Australia mine

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JOHANNESBURG, Dec 7 (Reuters) - South Africa's AngloGold Ashanti said on Thursday it will increase production and extend the life of its joint venture mine in Western Australia, under its strategy to develop more cost-effective methods of mining.

The expansion at Tropicana Gold Mine, a joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti which holds a 70 percent interest and Independence Group NL, is expected to add 2.1 million ounces and extend the mine's life by approximately seven years to 2027.

By using a strip mining approach and reducing waste haulage distances by using in-pit backfill, the company said it had developed a more cost-effective way to mine waste.

"This project is in line with our approach of developing cost-effective brownfield projects with attractive payback periods that extend life and improve margins," said AngloGold Ashanti's Australian Senior Vice President Michael Erickson.

AngloGold forecasts gold production at the mine of as much as 492,000 ounces next year and at least 530,000 ounces in 2019.

Gold production over the remaining life of the Tropicana mine is forecast to be about 4 million ounces.

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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