VENKAT, as he likes to be known, took some major strides in shaping AngloGold Ashanti’s future during 2017; the biggest being the long-awaited restructuring of the group’s South African mines – something analysts and investors had been pushing him on for years. AngloGold sold Moab to Harmony and Kopanang to Heaven-Sent Sunshine Investment, leaving Mponeng as it’s only operating South African mine. Venkat made it clear that Mponeng is a core asset and stressed that gold production from South Africa would in future drop to around 13% of total group output – the same as the volumes from Brazil, Ghana and Tanzania. He believes Mponeng has a viable future as a mechanised, deep-level mine and is evaluating projects to deepen the existing operations. Other good news in 2017 was that the newly elected government in Ghana has proven far more committed to re-opening the Obuasi mine than its predecessor, although talks were still in progress at year-end. On the negative side of the ledger AngloGold is now engaged in “dialogue” with the Tanzanian government over how the country’s new mining legislation could affect the Geita mine. Venkat describes the situation as concerning and says Geita is now operating on a “self-funding basis”. AngloGold has also started arbitration proceedings against the Tanzanian government over Geita in terms of the UN Commission on International Trade Law.
LIFE OF VENKAT
He’s an accountant who decided life as a bean counter with Deloitte in London was boring. So he decided to get “his hands dirty” in the real world, which he did in dramatic style when he was “parachuted in” to Ghana in 1999 to help dig the former Ashanti Goldfields out of a crisis. He signed on full-time as financial director and stayed with the ship, becoming CFO for AngloGold Ashanti after the merger with AngloGold in 2004. He took over as AngloGold Ashanti CEO in May 2013.
- Web Address: www.anglogoldashanti.com