AngloGold Ashanti reported a fivefold increase in its full-year dividend payment and added 6 million ounces of new Ore Reserve, on a gross basis, as it chartered a return to growth in the coming years.
“After several years of rationalising our portfolio, we have a clear and credible path to disciplined, high-return growth,” says interim CEO Christine Ramon. “We have built a solid balance sheet, which allows us to continue self-funding our capital investment, while rewarding shareholders.”
The company aims to grow annual production from last year’s 3,05-million ounces to between 3,2-million ounces and 3,6-million ounces, by 2025.
This growth will mainly include the ramp-up of the Obuasi mine in Ghana, and incremental improvements from existing assets in the next two years. Beyond that, it will include the addition of new production from Colombia assuming plans for investment are approved by the board of the company later this year.
In fulfilling a strategic objective to improve direct returns to shareholders, the company’s board declared a full-year dividend of 705 ZAR cents per share (approximately 48 US cents per share), compared to a dividend of ZAR 165 cents per share (9 US cents per share) in 2019.
AngloGold Ashanti embarked on a multi-year initiative at the beginning of 2020, to increase investment in ore reserve development and brownfields exploration. In its first year, the programme yielded 6-million ounces of gold – more than replacing depletion from mining and extending the overall reserve life of the company’s portfolio. These additions included 1,4-million new ounces of ore reserve at the Geita Gold Mine in Tanzania, and 1,8-million ounces at Obuasi, in Ghana.
The aim of this investment was to increase the rate of ore reserve conversion, extend the reserve lives of its assets, enhance mining flexibility and further improve the knowledge of the ore bodies. This programme was designed to unlock latent value from within the existing portfolio, with incremental investment in sustaining capital. The company will continue to deliver on this programme in 2021.
AngloGold Ashanti has, since 2013, used surplus cash generated by its mines and the proceeds from the sale of assets in the US, South Africa and Mali, to reduce net debt by more than 80%, to the lowest levels in a decade.
The company also met guidance for the eighth consecutive year on production and cost.
Basic earnings for the period ended 31 December 2020 were US$953-million, or 227 US cents per share, compared with a US$12-million loss, or 3 US cents loss per share in 2019.