AngloGold bets on H2 after tropical storm lashes Australian mines

ANGLOGOLD Ashanti increased first quarter gold production despite heavy rains that pummelled its Australian operations. Tropicana – a mine northeast of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia – reported 312 millimetres of rain in three days, the group said on Friday.

Production was 581,000 ounces, 2% higher than the first quarter last year and included a steady performance at Obuasi, AngloGold’s Ghana mine which produced 54,000 oz and is in line to meet full year guidance of between 275,000 and 320,000oz in 2024.

All in all, AngloGold kept guidance for 2024 unchanged at 2.27 to 2.43 million oz which compares to production last year of 2.25 million oz. Production is expected to be weighted towards the second half with an outstanding fourth quarter anticipated.

Some 15,000 oz in output was lost from the group’s Australian mines. At Tropicana, flooding interrupted power supply to the processing plant and required mining operations to be suspended, said AngloGold. Normal production has resumed but output will be down at the interim stage year-on-year with catch up forecast in the second half.

Also in Australia, Sunrise Dam reported an 8% production decline owing to the rains while there were also declines in first quarter output year-on-year at Cerro Vanguardia (-7%) in Argentina and Siguiri in Guinea (a hefty -35%), the latter owing to poor recoveries as mining hit carbonaceous ore.

But at Obuasi, AngloGold worked through 24% lower grades as per mine plan. Grades are expected to increase in the second half with production also to be boosted through ongoing development. Obuasi is undertaking a three stage plan aimed at getting the mine to between 325,000 to 375,000 oz in annual output by the end of the 2025 financial year.

Obuasi is a test of AngloGold CEO Alberto Calderon’s mettle given its spotty performance in previous years. Mining was suspended in 2021 following a fatal accident to allow for an overall review of the mine’s structural integrity. It was closed ahead of a broad rescope during the tenure of former CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan.

The other major deliverable for Calderon is development of new resources following the decision to sell the firm’s South African mines, the last being the giant Mponeng resource. AngloGold said today permitting for the recently approved Nevada project, North Bullfrog was underway with production expected in 2026.

A prefeasibility study into another Nevada project Merlin was expected to be completed during 2025 following a “framing review” to be completed this year, the group said.