Johannesburg - AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-largest producer of the metal, has been ordered to submit a proposal on how it plans to cut costs at its Obuasi mine in Ghana, the country’s government said.

Options include a “reasonable reduction of labor force,” Simon Atebiya, an official at Ghana’s Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, said in an interview following a meeting between AngloGold and the department.

AngloGold said in October it plans to cut 400 jobs at the Ghanaian mine to rein in costs as gold’s 28 percent drop last year, the most since 1981, erodes profit.

The company suspended its dividend last year, is laying off 40 percent of its 2,000 employees in corporate offices and is cutting spending on exploration.

AngloGold, which has 21 operations in 10 countries, faces “infrastructural and other production challenges” that have worsened with the drop in the gold price, said Kwame Addo-Kufour, the company’s vice president for corporate affairs.

He declined to give further details of discussions with the government. - Bloomberg News