AngloGold Ashanti ups earnings, production slides in first quarter
(Kitco News) - AngloGold Ashanti, one of the largest gold producers globally, reported today that its production for the first quarter of 2021 was 588,000oz at a total cash cost of $999/oz, compared with 630,000oz at a total cash cost of $773/oz from continuing operations in the same period in 2020.
The company said that solid production performances at AGA Mineração, Serra Grande, Siguiri and Obuasi were offset by declines at other mines in the portfolio.
AngloGold Ashanti's first quarter headline earnings of $203m were driven by the higher gold price, the company explained, as AngloGold continued its reinvestment programme aimed at completing the redevelopment of the Obuasi gold mine and adding new gold reserves across its portfolio.
Headline earnings of $203m, or 48 cents a share in the three months to the end of March 2021, compared to $143m, or 34 US cents per share, in the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted net debt declined by 43% year-on-year to $908m in the first quarter of 2021 from $1,606m in the first quarter of 2020.
"We continue to make progress in delivering on our strategy," interim CEO Christine Ramon said. "Our balance sheet remains in a solid position and Obuasi is making steady progress to completion."
In the first quarter of 2021, COVID-19 accounted for an estimated 4,000oz of lost production and an estimated $29/oz of all-in sustaining costs.
The company noted that the Brazilian operations and Obuasi mine were most affected by the pandemic during the first quarter, with high rates of absenteeism affecting productivity in Brazil and ongoing challenges encountered in the rotation of expatriate workers from Australia to Ghana.
AngloGold Ashanti added that this year and next will be key investment years for the company as it increases production from brownfields projects and builds on strong reserve additions from exploration in 2020, to increase its overall reserve base and the life of its mines. The company said it currently expects to meet its guidance for 2021.