FILE PHOTO: Liquid gold is poured to form gold dore bars at Newmont Mining's Carlin gold mine operation near Elko Nevada. AngloGold Ashanti has reduced its net debt down by 15 percent year-on-year to US$1.7 billion from $2.6 billion.

JOHANNESBURG - AngloGold Ashanti has reduced its net debt down by 15 percent year-on-year to US$1.7 billion from $2.6 billion even though its production is in decline, according to its operating result for the quarter ended 30 September.  

Production from retained operations, after stripping out the South Africa asset sales, declined to 851,000 ounces at a total cash cost of $722 per ounce for the third quarter compared with 853,000 ounces at $743 per ounce in the corresponding period of last year. 

AngloGold said Mponeng, Kibali, Iduapriem and Tropicana delivered standout performances as the restructuring process to better match support infrastructure with the smaller production base in South Africa is largely complete.

Last year, AngloGold announced the restructuring of the asset portfolio by about 50 percent which would result in a major sale of its South African assets in a bid to raise cash and cut losses. 

AngloGold chief executive Kelvin Dushnisky said this performance reflected both lower capital expenditure and improved cash costs, supported by operational excellence, interventions and weaker operating currencies in key jurisdictions such as Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Africa.

"This is a strong operating result that shows our absolute focus on safety and margins. 

"While we continue to work on improving efficiencies right across our asset suite, we're also making steady progress on our projects, which are aimed at improving the overall quality and life of our portfolio," Dushnisky said.

Free cash inflow was $34 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared with $88 million in the corresponding period last year as affected by the five percent lower gold price received, lower sales volumes year-on-year and adverse working capital changes.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (adjusted EBITDA) declined to $355 million for the third quarter of 2018, from $399 million in the third quarter last year, due mainly to the lower gold price and fewer ounces sold. 

AngloGold said that production for the full year remained forecast for the top end of the guidance range, while costs were expected at the lower end.

- African News Agency (ANA)