JOHANNESBURG - AngloGold Ashanti said on Monday a strong production and cost performance in the first half of this year, as inward investment started to bear fruit, helped deliver strong earnings and allowed the company to forecast production for 2018 at the top end of its guided range and costs at the bottom end.

Adjusted headline earnings were US$85 million, or 21 US dollar cents per share, for the first six months of 2018 versus a loss of US $93 million, or 23 US Dollar cents per share in the first half of 2017, due mainly to the improved operating performance and the higher gold price.

The company delivered on its strategy to improve free cash flow and returns by focusing on improving margins and reinvesting in high-return projects in its existing portfolio.

Productivity rates, up 58 percent since 2012, continued to improve as the effects of portfolio restructuring became evident, the brownfields investments started to yield returns, and its operational efficiency initiatives gained traction.

"We continued to improve our portfolio, strengthen our balance sheet and increase productivity, all of which are the cornerstones of our strategy to improve free cash flow and returns over the long term,” outgoing chief executive, Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said.

"The business is in good shape - production is strong, costs are improving and our pipeline is well stocked with options."

- African News Agency (ANA)