Skip to content skip to secondary navigation

Risk management and risk factors

Charles Carter, Executive Vice President Business Strategy

Charles Carter
Executive Vice President – Business Strategy


Planning in a... hugely diverse operating environment, both technically and geographically, is only as good as the people on the ground who own the problem.

Listen to podcast


The AngloGold Ashanti Board of Directors, the recently formed Risk and Information Integrity Committee, the Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Committee aim to ensure that risk is managed effectively via an on-going process for identifying, evaluating and managing significant threats and opportunities to meet business objectives.

Risk management is a central part of the group’s strategic management and is the system whereby the risks associated with group activities are methodically addressed so as to achieve sustained benefit. Risk management is designed to increase the probability of success, and reduce both the failure potential and uncertainty associated with achieving the group’s overall objectives. Specific objectives of the group risk management focus are to:

  • avoid or reduce adverse threats to business objectives to an acceptable level and exploit beneficial opportunities to add sustained value to all group activities in line with group risk appetite and threshold levels;
  • provide timely information on risk situations and appropriate risk responses for evaluation in terms of the business strategy to assist with meeting business objectives;
  • reduce future operational performance uncertainty by minimising surprises and associated costs and losses;
  • maintain a best practice group risk management system that is owned and championed at all levels of the organisation;
  • monitor and report on group and industry risk trends and outcomes and ensure appropriate reporting to and briefing of the board and Executive Committee;
  • improve the deployment of capital by using robust risk information to effectively assess overall capital needs and allocation; and
  • ensure that risk management forms an integral part of normal business practice and engenders a culture of ’risk awareness’ throughout the group.

The group risk management framework, approved by the board and implemented by management, comprises the following group risk management components:

  • a policy statement that sets the tone for risk management within the group and prescribes the commitment, scope, objectives and required outcomes. This policy is set by the board;
  • a plan, appropriate to the maturity of the group risk profile, prepared by management and approved annually by the recently formed Risk and Information Integrity Committee. Progress regarding implementation is reviewed regularly;
  • a risk standard that details the approach and methodologies to be adopted, prescribes the minimum requirements applicable to group risk management for threats and opportunities, and defines the risk management structure. This standard is developed by management and set by the board upon recommendation by the Risk and Information Integrity Committee. The standard is reviewed and updated regularly;
  • guidelines that provide supporting information and act as a user’s manual for the risk management system adopted by the group. The guidelines, although not mandatory and not the only way to achieve the standard, are followed wherever appropriate and possible. Alternative means to achieve goals and objectives may be used, provided the guidelines are used to evaluate the adequacy of any alternative measures being considered. The guidelines are reviewed and updated regularly; and
  • structure and accountabilities are defined in terms of risk owners, champions and task owners, as well as ownership of the risk management system and assurance. The roles and accountabilities for risk management are detailed in the terms of reference for the Risk and Information Integrity Committee and the group risk management framework.

AngloGold Ashanti’s approach to the risk management system is based upon ISO/DIS 31000: Risk Management Principles and Guidelines on Implementation. It is aligned with group values, thereby promoting a culture of ’living our values’ enhancing sustainability and maintaining the group’s ’social licence to operate’, and strategic business initiatives and processes. This system is an integral component of the group BPF.

In terms of King III, the board receives assurances from senior management regarding the effectiveness of the risk management process. Group internal audit provides a written assessment of the system of internal controls, internal financial controls and risk management. To do this, group internal audit conducts annual reviews to assess the adequacy of the risk management process examining:

  • adherence to group risk management policy, the standard and guidelines;
  • the risk management system and technologies against best practice information available;
  • risk management performance measurement, monitoring and reporting processes against available best practice information;
  • compliance with King III; and
  • current approaches to risk management.

In so doing, group internal audit forms an opinion around the adequacy of the design of the risk management framework driving the risk management process, and ensures that the framework addresses the requirements of King III. It also confirms that the rollout and implementation of the framework is in line with the approved implementation plan. To meet these obligations group internal audit, working with business and technical development, has designed, tested and embarked upon a combined assurance review process that is risk-based and draws upon appropriate functional expertise.

Material risks and risk factors

The key risk areas that AngloGold Ashanti believes it is currently exposed to are detailed in the Annual Integrated Report 2011. Discussion of the most significant risk factors is provided below.

Tabulated below are the risk management commitments for 2012 that were approved by the Risk and Information Integrity Committee (R&IIC) in November 2011. These commitments relate to the risk management plan as required by King III and the committee’s charter.

Group risk management plan – 2012
1. Risk management process

Continue to ensure a best practice enterprise-wide risk management system and to improve the system as appropriate to risk management maturity:

  • re-benchmark best practice risk management and methodologies externally within and outside the mining sector;
  • system integration points (compliance, incident review and linking);
  • interact with risk owners and champions to promote the success of the risk management system; and
  • focus on the opportunity component of the risk management process.
2. Risk management framework

Review and update the group risk management framework annually:

  • review and update, if necessary, group risk management policy statement and standard;
  • review and confirm risk tolerance and appetite;
  • review and approve the risk plan 2012;
  • maintain and update the risk structure and accountabilities;
  • review and update, if necessary, group risk management guidelines; and
  • promote the framework across the group globally.
3. Reporting and review

Fulfil risk management internal and external reporting requirements that include risk trends and emerging risk:

  • conduct quarterly risk reviews by the Executive Committee;
  • conduct quarterly risk reviews by the Risk and Information Integrity Committee;
  • review and update risk factors for annual financial reporting; and
  • assist with the sustainability materiality process and preparation of the sustainability report.
4. Risk awareness

Foster the ’risk awareness’ group culture:

  • maintain, support, develop and encourage group risk management community of practice to assist with ’risk awareness’ group culture and include information on emerging risks;
  • place greater focus on emerging risk identification and awareness;
  • encourage senior management review of top risk status and action during all site visits;
  • encourage functional (discipline) reviews of the risk assessment and management process; and
  • develop the group risk knowledge base of catastrophic risk.
5. Group risk register, AuRISK

Support, maintain and enhance the group risk register, AuRISK:

  • review and update AuRISK data with a particular focus on the key risks and a rigorous focus on risk response information;
  • incorporate additional linkages to business processes as necessary;
  • improve current treatment accountability mapping and reporting;
  • fully activate AuRISK automated email notifications;
  • support the asset integrity process component of the BPF within AuRISK;
  • support the insurance audit process within AuRISK; and
  • link incident information to risks within AuRISK.
6. Risk system training and assessment facilitation

Conduct and encourage risk management training as appropriate as well as annual risk assessment workshops:

  • maintain and update risk management training materials;
  • train and support the group risk management system that includes AuRISK at corporate, regional and operational level as appropriate;
  • conduct annual risk assessment workshops at operations, projects and greenfields exploration to identify and assess risks to delivery on business plans and project deliverables;
  • facilitate corporate and regional risk workshops to identify and assess risks to strategy; and
  • identify and promote suitable external risk training courses.
7. Business continuity management

Enhance group business continuity management:

  • develop master business continuity plans for each disaster-type scenario; and
  • create an intranet-based community of practice to support the development of business continuity plans throughout the group.
8. Integration

Further integrate the risk management system into core business processes:

  • strategic planning risk and project evaluation and assessment;
  • sustainability by encouraging identification, assessment and management of material risks to maintain AngloGold Ashanti’s ’social licence to operate’;
  • work with, support and participate in the combined assurance review process at selected operations;
  • conduct audits to provide assurance to the board and management (per King III);
  • identify methods of providing a portfolio profile for group projects and operations;
  • examine and support quantitative risk assessment techniques as appropriate;
  • determine key performance indicator views for group projects and operations;
  • prepare risk management budget; and
  • participate in business strategic planning and value enhancement programmes to encourage consideration of risks in regional strategies and operational business plans as well as project commitments.
9. Assurance

Conduct audits to provide assurance to the board and management, as per King III requirements, that the risk management system is effective, the risk plan is being implemented, and that risk treatment and response strategies are sufficient.

Risk factors

This section describes many of the risks that could affect AngloGold Ashanti. There may however be additional risks unknown to AngloGold Ashanti and other risks, currently believed to be immaterial, that could turn out to be material. These risks, either individually or simultaneously, could significantly affect the group’s business, financial results and the price of its securities.

Risks related to AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition as a result of factors that impact the gold mining industry generally.

Commodity market price fluctuations could adversely affect the profitability of operations.

AngloGold Ashanti’s revenues are primarily derived from the sale of gold and, to a lesser extent uranium, silver and sulphuric acid. The company’s current policy is to sell its products at prevailing market prices and not to enter into price hedging arrangements. The market prices for these commodities fluctuate widely. These fluctuations are caused by numerous factors beyond the company’s control. For example, the market price of gold may change for a variety of reasons, including:

  • speculative positions taken by investors or traders in gold;
  • monetary policies announced or implemented by central banks, including the US Federal Reserve;
  • changes in the demand for gold as an investment or as a result of leasing arrangements;
  • changes in the demand for gold used in jewellery and for other industrial uses, including as a result of prevailing economic conditions;
  • changes in the supply of gold from production, divestment, scrap and hedging;
  • financial market expectations regarding the rate of inflation;
  • strength of the US dollar (the currency in which the gold price trades internationally) relative to other currencies;
  • changes in interest rates;
  • actual or anticipated sales or purchases of gold by central banks and the International Monetary Fund;
  • gold hedging and de-hedging by gold producers;
  • global or regional political or economic events; and
  • the cost of gold production in major gold producing countries.

The market price of gold has been and continues to be significantly volatile. During 2011, the gold price traded from a low of $1,313/oz to a high of $1,900/oz. On 30 December 2011, the closing price was $1,563/oz. The price of gold is often subject to sharp, short-term changes as a result of speculative activities. For example, in early March 2012, the price of gold dropped by almost $100/oz in one day. While the overall supply of and demand for gold can affect its market price, the considerable size of historical mined stocks of the metal means that these factors typically do not affect the gold price in the same manner or degree as for other commodities. In addition, the shift in demand from physical gold to investment and speculative demand may exacerbate the volatility of the gold price.

In 2011, price volatility dampened demand in the key jewellery markets of India and China, which both experienced mixed fortunes during the year. In the fourth quarter of 2011 and into 2012, gold appeared to trade as a risk asset, experiencing selling pressure in times of heightened turmoil, rather than as the safe haven asset it is generally deemed to be.

A sustained period of significant gold price volatility may adversely affect the company’s ability to evaluate the feasibility of undertaking new capital projects, or the continuing of existing operations, or to make other long-term strategic decisions. The use of lower gold prices in reserve calculations and life-of-mine plans could result in material write-downs of the company’s investment in mining properties and increased amortisation, reclamation and closure charges.

The spot price of uranium has been significantly volatile in past years. During 2011, the price varied between a low of about $47/lb and a high of $72/lb. Uranium prices can be affected by several factors, including demand for nuclear reactors, uranium production shortfalls and restocking by utilities. Events like those surrounding the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan in 2011 can also have a material impact on the price of and demand for uranium.

The price of silver has also experienced significant fluctuations. From a low of $26/oz in January 2011, the price rose steadily to reach a high of $49/oz in April 2011. By December 2011, the price had dropped to around $28/oz again. Factors affecting the price of silver include investor demand, physical demand for silver bars, industrial and retail off take, and silver coin minting.

If revenue from sales of gold, uranium, silver and sulphuric acid falls below the cost of production for an extended period, AngloGold Ashanti may experience losses and be forced to change its dividend payment policies and curtail or suspend some or all of its exploration capital projects and existing operations. Declining commodities prices may also force a reassessment of the feasibility of a particular project, which could cause substantial delays or interrupt operations until the reassessment can be completed.

Foreign exchange fluctuations could have a material adverse effect on operational results and financial condition.

Gold is principally a dollar-priced commodity and most of the company’s revenues are realised in, or linked to, dollars while production costs are largely incurred in the local currency where the relevant operation is located. Given the company’s global operations and local foreign exchange regulations, some of its funds are held in local currencies, such as the South African rand, Ghanaian cedi, Brazilian real, Argentinean peso and the Australian dollar. The weakening of the dollar, without a corresponding increase in the dollar price of gold against these local currencies, results in higher production costs in dollar terms. Conversely, the strengthening of the dollar, without a corresponding decrease in the dollar price of gold against these local currencies, yields lower production costs in dollar terms.

Exchange rate movements may have a material impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s operating results. For example, a 1% strengthening of either the South African rand, Brazilian real, the Argentinean peso and the Australian dollar against the US dollar will, other factors remaining equal, result in an increase in total cash costs under IFRS of nearly $5 per ounce or approximately 1% of the company’s total cash costs. The impact on cash costs determined under US GAAP may be different.

The profitability of operations and the cash flows generated by these operations are significantly affected by fluctuations in input production prices, many of which are linked to the prices of oil and steel.

Fuel, energy and consumables, including diesel, heavy fuel oil, chemical reagents, explosives, tyres, steel and mining equipment consumed in mining operations form a relatively large part of the operating costs and capital expenditure of any mining company.

AngloGold Ashanti has no influence over the cost of these consumables, many of which are linked to some degree to the price of oil and steel.

The price of oil has recently been volatile, fluctuating between $94.2 and $122.6/barrel of Brent crude in 2011. AngloGold Ashanti estimates that for each $1/barrel rise in the oil price, other factors remaining equal, the average cash costs under IFRS of all its operations increases by about $0.70/oz with the cash costs of certain of the company’s mines, particularly Geita, Cripple Creek & Victor, Siguiri and Sadiola, which, being more dependent on fuel, are more sensitive to changes in the price of oil.

Furthermore, the price of steel has also been volatile. Steel is used in the manufacture of most forms of fixed and mobile mining equipment, which is a relatively large contributor to the operating costs and capital expenditure of a mine. For example, the price of flat hot rolled coil (North American Domestic FOB) steel traded between $635/t and $875/t in 2011.

Fluctuations in oil and steel prices have a significant impact on operating costs and capital expenditure estimates and, in the absence of other economic fluctuations, could result in significant changes in the total expenditure estimates for new mining projects or render certain projects non-viable.

Energy cost increases and power fluctuations and stoppages could adversely impact the company’s results of operations and its financial condition.

Increasing global demand for energy, concerns about nuclear power, and the limited growth of new supply are impacting the price and supply of energy. The transition of emerging markets to higher energy consumption, carbon taxation as well as unrest and potential conflict in the Middle East could result in constrained supply and sharply escalating oil and energy prices.

AngloGold Ashanti’s mining operations are substantially dependent upon electrical power generated by local utilities or by power plants situated at some of its operations. The unreliability of these local sources of power can have a material effect on the company’s operations, as large amounts of power are required for exploration, development, extraction, processing and other mining activities on the company’s properties.

In South Africa, the company’s operations are dependent on electricity supplied by one national power generation company, Eskom the state-owned utility. Electricity is used for most business and safety-critical operations that include cooling, hoisting and dewatering. Loss of power could therefore impact production, employee safety and prolonged outages could lead to flooding of workings and ore sterilisation.

In 2008, Eskom warned it could no longer guarantee the availability of electricity to the South African mining industry. A warning of the ’very high’ risk of blackouts was re-issued at the start of 2011. While a national energy conservation programme is in place, Eskom cannot guarantee that there will be no power interruptions. In 2008, AngloGold Ashanti and other mining companies operating in South Africa were forced to temporarily suspend mining operations at their mines, after which the company implemented various initiatives at its South African mines to reduce electricity consumption while operating at full capacity. AngloGold Ashanti cannot offer assurance that the power supply to its South African operations will not be curtailed or interrupted again.

Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) recognise the need to increase electricity supply capacity and a series of tariff increases and proposals have been enacted to assist in the funding of this expansion. In 2010, NERSA approved an annual increase of 24.8% for 2010, 25.8% for 2011 and 25.9% for 2012 and is now reportedly considering requesting another two similar increases, one each in 2013 and 2014. As energy represents a large proportion of the company’s operating costs in South Africa, these increases have an adverse impact on the cash costs of its South African operations.

The company has also identified a risk of energy shortages in Argentina and the DRC. Furthermore, the company’s operations in Ghana depend on hydroelectric power supplied by the state-controlled Volta River Authority (VRA), which is supplemented by thermal power from the Takoradi plant and a smaller unit at Tema. During periods of below average inflows from the Volta reservoir, electricity supplies from the Akosombo Dam, the VRA’s primary generation source, may be curtailed as occurred in 1998, 2006 and the first half of 2007. During periods of limited electricity availability, the grid is subject to disturbances and voltage fluctuations which can damage equipment. In the past, the VRA has obtained power from neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire, which has intermittently experienced political instability and civil unrest. AngloGold Ashanti negotiates rates directly with the VRA and there can be no assurance that the VRA will agree to a satisfactory rate during future rounds of negotiations.

The company’s mining operations in Guinea, Tanzania and Mali are dependent on power supplied by outside contractors and supplies of fuel are delivered by road. Power supplies have been disrupted in the past, resulting in production losses due to equipment failure.

Increased energy prices could negatively impact operating costs and cash flow of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations.

Global economic conditions could adversely affect the profitability of operations.

AngloGold Ashanti’s operations and performance depend significantly on worldwide economic conditions. The global financial markets have recently experienced increased volatility due to uncertainty surrounding the level and sustainability of the sovereign debt of various countries. In addition, some economists, observers and market participants have expressed concern regarding the sustainability of the European Monetary Union and its common currency, the euro, in their current form. These conditions and other disruptions to international credit markets and financial systems have caused a loss of investor confidence and resulted in widening credit spreads, a lack of price transparency, increased credit losses and tighter credit conditions. Despite the aggressive measures taken by governments and central banks thus far, economic recovery has been extremely slow. A significant risk remains that these measures may not prevent the global economy from falling back into an even deeper and longer lasting recession or even a depression.

A global economic downturn may have follow-on effects on AngloGold Ashanti’s business that include inflationary cost pressures and commodity market fluctuations.

Other effects could, for example, include:

  • the insolvency of key suppliers or contractors which could result in contractual breaches and in a supply chain break-down;
  • the insolvency of our joint venture partners which could result in contractual breaches and disruptions at the operations of our joint ventures;
  • other income and expense which could vary materially from expectations, depending on gains or losses realised on the sale or exchange of financial instruments, and impairment charges may be incurred with respect to our investments;
  • AngloGold Ashanti’s defined benefit pension fund may not achieve expected returns on its investments, which could require the company to make substantial cash payments to fund any resulting deficits;
  • a reduction in the availability of credit which may make it more difficult for the company to obtain financing for its operations and capital expenditures or make that financing more costly; and
  • exposure to the liquidity and insolvency risks of the company’s lenders and customers which could negatively affect AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition and operational results.

Uncertainty regarding global economic conditions may increase volatility or negatively impact the market value of the company’s securities.

Inflation may have a material adverse effect on results of operations.

General inflationary pressures affecting the mining industry and accelerating inflation across South American jurisdictions resulted in significant cost pressure during 2011. In Argentina in particular, rising inflation resulted in higher labour costs and consumables costs in 2011, which could adversely affect procurement and recruitment activities as well as labour relations in 2012.

Most of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations are located in countries that have experienced high rates of inflation during certain periods.

It is possible that significantly higher future inflation in the countries in which the company operates may result in an increase in operational costs in local currencies (without a concurrent devaluation of the local currency of operations against the dollar or an increase in the dollar price of gold). This could have a material adverse effect upon the company’s results of operations and its financial condition.

Significantly higher and sustained inflation, with a consequent increase in operational costs, could result in the rationalisation of higher cost mines or projects.

Mining companies face many risks related to the development of mining projects that may adversely affect the company’s results of operations and profitability.

The profitability of mining companies depends partly on the actual costs of developing and operating mines, which may differ significantly from estimates determined at the time the relevant project was approved following completion of its feasibility study. Development of mining projects may also be subject to unexpected problems and delays that could increase the development and operating costs of the relevant project.

AngloGold Ashanti’s decision to develop a mineral property is typically based on the results of a feasibility study, which estimates anticipated economic returns from the project. These estimates are based on assumptions regarding:

  • future prices of gold, uranium, silver and other metals;
  • future currency exchange rates;
  • tonnage, grades and metallurgical characteristics of ore to be mined and processed;
  • anticipated recovery rates of gold, uranium, silver and other metals extracted from the ore;
  • anticipated capital expenditure and cash operating costs; and
  • required return on investment.

Actual cash operating costs, production and economic returns may differ significantly from those anticipated by such studies and estimates. Operating costs and capital expenditure are to a significant extent driven by the cost of commodity inputs consumed in mining, including fuel, chemical reagents, explosives, tyres and steel, and also by credits from by-products, such as silver and uranium. They could also fluctuate considerably as a result of changes in the prices of mining equipment used in the construction and operation of mining projects.

There are a number of uncertainties inherent in the development and construction of a new mine or the extension to an existing mine. In addition to those discussed above, these uncertainties include the:

  • timing and cost of construction of mining and processing facilities, which can be considerable;
  • availability and cost of mining and processing equipment;
  • availability and cost of skilled labour, power, water and transportation;
  • availability and cost of appropriate smelting and refining arrangements;
  • requirement and time needed to obtain the necessary environmental and other governmental permits; and
  • availability of funds to finance construction and development activities.

The remote location of many mining properties, permitting requirements and/or delays, third-party legal challenges to individual mining projects and broader social or political opposition to mining may increase the cost, timing and complexity of mine development and construction. New mining operations could experience unexpected problems and delays during the development, construction, commissioning and commencement of production.

For example, a number of targets for greenfield exploration were missed in 2010, especially those relating to resource drilling and prefeasibility studies at La Colosa and Gramalote in Colombia and at Central Mongbwalu in the DRC. The total number of metres drilled in Colombia was significantly lower than expected due to delays in the approval of the necessary environmental (water use) and access permits. Contractual and legal issues delayed the start of regional exploration drilling on the Kilo joint venture in the DRC until the fourth quarter of 2010.

Accordingly, AngloGold Ashanti’s future development activities may not result in the expansion or replacement of current production, or one or more new production sites or facilities may be less profitable than anticipated or may be loss-making.

The company’s operating results and financial condition are directly related to the success of its project developments. A failure in the company’s ability to develop and operate mining projects in accordance with, or in excess of, expectations could negatively impact its results of operations, as well as its financial condition and prospects.

Mining companies face uncertainty and risks in exploration, feasibility studies and other project evaluation activities.

AngloGold Ashanti must continually replace Ore Reserve depleted by mining and production to maintain or increase gold production levels in the long term. This is undertaken by exploration activities that are speculative in nature. The ability of the company to sustain or increase present levels of gold production depends in part on the success of its projects.

Feasibility studies and other project evaluation activities necessary to determine the current or future viability of a mining operation are often unproductive. Such activities often require substantial expenditure on exploration drilling to establish the presence, extent and grade (metal content) of mineralised material. AngloGold Ashanti undertakes feasibility studies to estimate the technical and economic viability of mining projects and to determine appropriate mining methods and metallurgical recovery processes. These activities are undertaken to estimate the Ore Reserve.

Once mineralisation is discovered it may take several years to determine whether an adequate Ore Reserve exists, during which time the economic feasibility of the project may change due to fluctuations in factors that affect both revenue and costs, including:

  • future prices of metals and other commodities;
  • future foreign currency exchange rates;
  • the required return on investment as based on the cost and availability of capital; and
  • applicable regulatory requirements, including environmental, health and safety matters.

Feasibility studies also include activities to estimate the anticipated:

  • tonnages, grades and metallurgical characteristics of the ore to be mined and processed;
  • recovery rates of gold, uranium and other metals from the ore; and
  • capital expenditure and cash operating costs.

These estimates depend on assumptions made on available data. Ore Reserve estimates are not precise calculations and depend on the interpretation of limited information on the location, shape and continuity of the mineral occurrence and on available sampling results. Further exploration and feasibility studies can result in new data becoming available that may change previous Ore Reserve estimates and impact the technical and economic viability of production from the project. Changes in the forecast prices of commodities, exchange rates, production costs or recovery rates may change the economic status of reserves resulting in revisions to previous Ore Reserve estimates. These revisions could impact depreciation and amortisation rates, assetcarrying amounts, provisions for close-down, restoration and environmental clean-up costs.

AngloGold Ashanti undertakes annual revisions to its Ore Reserve estimates based upon actual exploration and production results, depletion, new information on geology, model revisions and fluctuations in production, economic assumptions and operating and other costs. These factors may result in reductions in Ore Reserve estimates, which could adversely affect life-of-mine plans and consequently the total value of the company’s mining asset base. Ore Reserve restatements could negatively affect the company’s results of operations, as well as its financial condition and prospects.

The increased demand for gold and other commodities, combined with a declining rate of discovery of new gold Ore Reserve in recent years, has resulted in the accelerated depletion of the existing Ore Reserve across the global gold sector. AngloGold Ashanti therefore faces intense competition for the acquisition of attractive mining properties. From time to time, the company evaluates the acquisition of an Ore Reserve, development properties or operating mines, either as stand-alone assets or as part of companies. AngloGold Ashanti’s decision to acquire these properties has been based on a variety of factors including historical operating results, estimates and assumptions regarding the extent of the Ore Reserve, cash and other operating costs, gold prices, projected economic returns and evaluations of existing or potential liabilities associated with the relevant property and its operations and how these factors may change in future. Other than historical operating results, these factors are uncertain and could have an impact on revenue, cash and other operating costs, as well as the process used to estimate the Ore Reserve.

As a result of these uncertainties, exploration and acquisitions by the company may not result in the expansion or replacement of current production or the maintenance of its existing Ore Reserve net of production or an increase in Ore Reserve. AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition are directly related to the success of its exploration and acquisition efforts and its ability to replace or increase the existing Ore Reserve. If the company is not able to maintain or increase its Ore Reserve, its results of operations, as well as its financial condition and prospects could be adversely affected.

Mining companies face many risks related to their operations that may adversely impact cash flows and overall profitability.

Gold mining is susceptible to events that may adversely impact a mining company’s ability to produce gold and meet production targets. These events include, but are not limited to:

  • environmental, as well as health and safety hazards, including dust generation, discharge of metals, pollutants, radioactivity or hazardous chemicals; industrial accidents or accidents during transportation;
  • ground and surface water pollution;
  • social or community disputes or interventions;
  • security incidents;
  • surface or underground fires or explosions;
  • electrocution;
  • falls from heights and accidents relating to mobile machinery, including shaft conveyances and elevators, drilling blasting and mining operations;
  • labour force disputes and disruptions;
  • loss of information integrity or data;
  • activities of illegal or artisanal miners;
  • material and equipment availability;
  • mechanical failure or breakdowns and ageing infrastructure;
  • failure of unproven or evolving technologies;
  • human error;
  • energy and electrical power supply interruptions or rationing;
  • unusual or unexpected geological formations, ground conditions, including lack of mineable face length, and orepass blockages
  • water ingress and flooding;
  • process water shortages;
  • metallurgical conditions and gold recovery;
  • unexpected decline of ore grade;
  • unanticipated increases in gold lock-up and inventory levels at heap-leach operations;
  • fall-of-ground accidents in underground operations;
  • cave-ins, sinkholes, subsidence, rock falls, rock bursts, or landslides;
  • failure of mining pit slopes, heap-leach facilities, water or solution dams, waste stockpiles and tailings dam walls;
  • legal and regulatory restrictions and changes to such restrictions;
  • safety-related stoppages;
  • gold bullion theft;
  • corruption, fraud and theft;
  • seismic activity; and
  • other natural phenomena, such as floods, droughts or weather conditions, potentially exacerbated by climate change.

Seismic activity is of particular concern in underground mining operations, particularly in South Africa due to the extent and extreme depth of mining, and also in Australia and Brazil due to the depth of mining and residual tectonic stresses. Despite modifications to mine layouts and support technology, as well as other technological improvements employed with a view to minimising the incidence and impact of seismic activity, seismic events have caused death and injury to employees and contractors and may do so again in future.

Seismic activity may also cause the loss of mining equipment, damage to or destruction of mineral properties or production facilities, monetary losses, environmental damage and potential legal liabilities at operations where seismic activity may be a factor. As a result, these events may have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and financial condition.

For example, in early 2011, mining of the Ventersdorp Contact Reef shaft pillar at TauTona was suspended following a significant seismic event. New equipment had to be purchased and the shutdown contributed to the decline in the operational output of the mine as compared to the previous year.

In the past, floods have also disrupted the operations of some of our mines. For example, unprecedented heavy rains in February and March 2011 in Australia flooded the Sunrise Dam Gold Mine and forced a temporary shutdown of operations. The flood event impacted underground production for approximately four months and open pit production for approximately six months. Full costs were incurred despite the shutdown, as the mining contractors worked on remedial activities to repair damage and rehabilitate flooded areas. The considerable remedial work required adversely impacted cash costs per ounce and the impact of the flood event and the pit wall failure together significantly reduced planned production at the plant.

Water scarcity has been identified as a significant risk at AngloGold Ashanti’s US operation. Production at the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company’s Cresson Project continued to be affected by a severe drought in 2011. The lack of water reduced percolation through the heap-leach pad, which curtailed production and productivity.

Mining companies’ operations are vulnerable to infrastructure constraints.

Mining, processing, development and exploration activities depend on adequate infrastructure. Reliable rail, ports, roads, bridges, power sources, power transmission facilities and water supply are critical to our business operations and affect capital and operating costs.

Interferences in the maintenance or provision of infrastructure, including unusual weather phenomena, sabotage and social unrest, could impede the company’s ability to deliver its products on time and adversely affect AngloGold Ashanti’s business, financial condition and results of operation.

Establishing infrastructure for the company’s development projects requires significant resources, identification of adequate sources of raw materials and supplies, and necessary co-operation from national and regional governments, none of which can be assured.

AngloGold Ashanti has operations or potential development projects in countries where government-provided infrastructure may be inadequate and regulatory regimes for access to infrastructure may be uncertain, which could adversely impact the efficient operation and expansion of our business. There is no guarantee that AngloGold Ashanti will secure and maintain access to adequate infrastructure in the future, nor that it can do so on reasonable terms.

We face strong competition from our peers.

The mining industry is competitive in all of its phases. AngloGold Ashanti competes with other mining companies and individuals for specialised equipment, components and supplies necessary for exploration and development, for mining claims and leases on exploration properties and for the acquisition of mining assets. These competitors may have greater financial resources, operational experience and technical capabilities than AngloGold Ashanti. Competition may increase AngloGold Ashanti’s cost of acquiring suitable claims, properties and assets, should they become available to the company.

Mining companies are subject to extensive health and safety laws and regulations.

Gold mining operations are subject to a variety of industry-specific health and safety laws and regulations depending on which jurisdiction they are in. These laws and regulations are designed to protect and improve the safety and health of employees. AngloGold Ashanti is also in the process of implementing an enhanced safety programme, including improved incident investigation and reporting systems, which could result in significant additional costs for the company.

From time to time, new or improved health and safety laws and regulations are introduced in jurisdictions in which AngloGold Ashanti operates. Should compliance with new standards require a material increase in expenditure or material interruptions to operations or production, including as a result of any temporary failure to comply with applicable regulations, the results of operations and the financial condition of the company could be adversely affected.

In some of the jurisdictions in which we operate, the government enforces compulsory shutdowns of operations to enable investigations into the cause of accidents at those operations. Certain of the company’s operations have been temporarily suspended for safety reasons in the past. In South Africa, in particular, so-called Section 54 safety stoppages have become a significant issue. In 2011, the Inspector of Mines ordered the shutdown of entire mines in cases of relatively minor violations, which had a material impact on production at these mines. In particular, the Inspector issued Kopanang 11 Section 54 directives during the year. Each directive resulted in Kopanang suspending operations either fully or partially in order to comply with the inspector’s recommendations on safety. A working group comprising the inspectorate, the mining industry and organised labour has been formed to address the trend of increasing safety stoppages.

AngloGold Ashanti’s reputation as a responsible company and employer could be damaged by any significant governmental investigation or enforcement of health and safety standards. Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on the company’s results of operations and financial condition.

Mining companies are increasingly required to consider and take steps to develop in a sustainable manner and to provide benefits to the communities and countries in which they operate. Failure to consider such requirements can result in legal suits, additional operational costs, adverse reactions by investors and otherwise adversely impact mining companies’ financial condition and social licence to operate.

As a result of public concern about the perceived ill effects of economic globalisation, businesses in general and large multinational mining corporations such as AngloGold Ashanti in particular face increasing public scrutiny of their activities.

These businesses are under pressure to demonstrate that while they seek a satisfactory return on investment for shareholders, human rights are respected and other social partners, including employees, host communities and more broadly the countries in which they operate, also benefit from their commercial activities. Such pressures tend to be particularly focused on companies whose activities are perceived to have, or have, a high impact on their social and physical environment. The potential consequences of these pressures and the adverse publicity in cases where companies are believed not to be creating sufficient social and economic benefit may result in additional operating costs, reputational damage, active community opposition, allegations of human rights abuses, legal suits and investor withdrawal.

Existing and proposed mining operations are often located at or near existing towns and villages, natural water courses and other infrastructure. As the impacts of water pollution or shortage, in particular, may be immediate and directly adverse to those communities, poor management of either the supply or the quality of water can result in community protest, regulatory sanctions or ultimately in the withdrawal of community and government support for company operations. For example, opposition to mining activity in the Tolima province of Colombia, which hosts the La Colosa deposit, has centred on the perception that large-scale mining activity will have a detrimental impact on the region’s river systems. Mining operations must therefore be designed to minimise their impact on such communities and the environment, either by changing mining plans to avoid such impact, by modifying mining plans and operations, or by relocating the affected people to an agreed location. Responsive measures may also include agreed levels of compensation for any adverse impact ongoing mining operations may continue to have upon the community.

In addition, as AngloGold Ashanti has a long history of mining operations in certain regions, issues may arise regarding historical as well as potential future environmental impacts to those areas. For example, certain parties, including NGOs, community groups and institutional investors, have raised concerns about surface and groundwater quality, among other issues, in the area surrounding the company’s Obuasi and Iduapriem mines in Ghana, including potential impacts to local rivers and wells used for water from heavy metals, arsenic and cyanide as well as sediment and mine rock waste. Following temporary shutdowns at both mines in 2010, the company has made improvements in effluent quality management and constructed new tailings impoundments to reduce the risk of incidents that have the potential to degrade local water sources. AngloGold Ashanti is continuing to investigate allegations of impacts by the company’s operations on water quality in mining areas and to consider, as appropriate, potential additional responsive actions such as remediation, engineering and operational changes at the mine sites and community outreach programmes.

Disputes with surrounding communities may also affect mining operations by the restriction of access to supplies and of the workforce to mining operations. The mines access to land may be subject to the rights or asserted rights of various community stakeholders, including indigenous people. In some cases, AngloGold Ashanti has had difficulty gaining access to new land because of perceived poor community compensation practices. For example, compensation remains a significant area of concern in Siguiri in Guinea. In 2011, a violent community protest interrupted operations for three days, which contributed to the project’s decline in production as compared to 2010. Delays in projects attributable to a lack of community support can translate directly into a decrease in the value of a project or into an inability to bring the project to production.

The cost of measures and other issues relating to the sustainable development of mining operations could place significant demands on personnel resources, could increase capital and operating costs and could have an adverse impact upon AngloGold Ashanti’s reputation, results of operations and financial condition.

Mining companies are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations.

Mining companies are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations in the various jurisdictions in which they operate. These regulations establish limits and conditions on a producer’s ability to conduct its operations and govern, among other things, extraction, use and conservation of water resources; air emissions (including dust control) and water treatment and discharge; regulatory and community reporting; clean-up of contamination; worker safety and community health; and the generation, transportation, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, such as acids, radioactive materials, and mine tailings.

The cost of compliance with environmental laws and regulations is expected to continue to be significant to AngloGold Ashanti. AngloGold Ashanti could incur fines, penalties and other sanctions, clean-up costs, and third-party claims for personal injury or property damages; suffer reputational damage; and be required to install costly pollution control equipment or to modify or suspend operations, as a result of actual or alleged violations or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations. In addition, unknown environmental hazards may exist on the company’s properties which may have been caused by previous owners or by existing operators.

For example, in 2010 AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine in Ghana suspended gold processing operations for five days to implement a revised water management strategy aimed at reducing contaminants contained in its discharge. Furthermore, following a temporary suspension of operations at the Iduapriem mine, the company with the approval of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency constructed an interim tailings storage facility for tailings deposition for a year while the greenfields tailings storage facility was being constructed. In addition, the company is currently investigating allegations of impacts on water quality in the area of these mines.

Failure to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations may also result in the suspension or revocation of permits. AngloGold Ashanti’s ability to obtain and maintain permits and to successfully operate in particular communities may be adversely impacted by real or perceived effects on the environment or human health and safety associated with AngloGold Ashanti’s or other mining companies’ activities.

Environmental laws and regulations are continually changing and are generally becoming more restrictive. Changes to AngloGold Ashanti’s environmental compliance obligations or operating practices could adversely affect the company’s rate of production and revenue. Variations in laws and regulations, assumptions made to estimate liabilities, standards or operating procedures, more stringent emission or pollution thresholds or controls, or the occurrence of unanticipated conditions, may require operations to be suspended or permanently closed, and could increase AngloGold Ashanti’s expenses and provisions. These expenses and provisions could adversely affect the company’s results of operations and its financial condition.

For example, the use of sodium cyanide in metallurgical processing is under increasing environmental scrutiny and is prohibited in certain jurisdictions. As there are few, if any, effective substitutes in extracting gold from the ore, any ban or material restrictions on the use of sodium cyanide in mining operations in the jurisdictions where AngloGold Ashanti conducts its operations could adversely affect the company’s results of operations and its financial condition. In addition, leaks or discharges of sodium cyanide or other hazardous materials could result in clean-up liabilities that may not be covered by insurance.

AngloGold Ashanti’s operations are heavily dependent upon access to substantial volumes of water for use in the mining and extractive processes and typically are subject to water-use permits that govern usage and require, among other things, that mining operations maintain certain water quality upon discharge. Water quality and usage are areas of concern globally, but are particularly significant for operations in Ghana and South Africa, and for exploration projects in Colombia, where there is significant potential environmental and social impact and a high level of stakeholder scrutiny. Any failure to secure access to suitable water supplies, or achieve and maintain compliance with the requirements of the permits or licences could result in curtailment or halting of production at the affected operation. Incidents of water pollution or shortage can, in extreme cases, lead to community protest and ultimately to the withdrawal of community and government support for the company’s operations.

Mining and mineral processing operations generate waste rock and tailings. The impact of a breach, leak or other failure of a tailings storage facility can be significant. An incident at AngloGold Ashanti’s operations could lead to, among other things, obligations to remediate environmental contamination and claims for property damage and personal injury. Incidents at other companies’ operations could result in governments tightening regulatory requirements and restricting mining activities.

In addition, mining companies are required by law to close their operations at the end of the mine life and rehabilitate the lands mined. Estimates of total ultimate closure and rehabilitation costs for gold mining operations are significant and based principally on life-of-mine profiles, changing inflation and discount rate assumptions, changing designs of tailing storage facilities and current legal and regulatory requirements that may change materially. Environmental liabilities are accrued when they become known, probable and can be reasonably estimated. Increasingly, regulators are seeking security in the form of cash collateral or bank guarantees in respect of environmental obligations, which could have an adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition.

Costs associated with rehabilitating land disturbed by mining processes and addressing environmental, health and community issues are estimated and financial provision made based upon current available information. Estimates may, however, be insufficient and further costs may be identified at any stage. Any underestimated or unidentified rehabilitation costs would reduce earnings and could materially and adversely affect the company’s asset values, earnings and cash flows.

Compliance with emerging climate change regulations could result in significant costs and climate change may present physical risks to a mining company’s operations.

Greenhouse gases, (GHGs), are emitted directly by AngloGold Ashanti’s operations, as well as by external utilities from which AngloGold Ashanti purchases power. Currently, a number of international and national measures to address or limit GHG emissions, including the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Accord and the Durban Platform, are in various phases of discussion or implementation in the countries in which the company operates. In particular, the Durban Platform commits all parties to the conference to develop a global mitigation regime which could take effect in 2020, with the specific terms of that legally binding accord, including individual targets, to be finalised by 2015.

These, or future, measures could require AngloGold Ashanti to reduce its direct GHG emissions or energy use or to incur significant costs for GHG emissions permits or taxes or have these costs or taxes passed on by electricity utilities which supply the company. AngloGold Ashanti also could incur significant costs associated with capital equipment, GHG monitoring and reporting and other obligations to comply with applicable requirements.

For example, Australia has passed legislation that will implement a carbon trading scheme commencing in July 2012. Other countries, including South Africa, Brazil and the United States, have passed or are considering GHG trading or tax schemes and/or other regulation of GHG emissions, though the precise impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s operations cannot yet be determined.

In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s operations could be exposed to a number of physical risks from climate change, such as changes in rainfall rates, rising sea levels, reduced water availability, higher temperatures and extreme weather events. Events or conditions such as flooding or inadequate water supplies could disrupt mining and transport operations, mineral processing and rehabilitation efforts, could create resource shortages and could damage the company’s property or equipment and increase health and safety risks on site.

Such events or conditions could have other adverse effects on the company’s workforce and on the communities around our mines, such as an increased risk of food insecurity, water scarcity and prevalence of disease.

Compliance with emerging ‘conflict minerals’ legislation could result in significant costs.

There is increasing legislation and initiatives relating to ’conflict’ and ’responsible’ gold that include the: US Dodd-Frank Act; World Gold Council Conflict Free Gold Standard; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas; and London Bullion Market Association Responsible Gold Guidance. This may result in the increased cost of demonstrating compliance and difficulties in the sale of gold emanating from certain areas, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighbours. The complexities of the gold supply chain, especially as they relate to ’scrap’ or recycled gold, and the fragmented and often unregulated supply of artisanal and small-scale mined gold are such that there may be significant uncertainties at each stage in the chain as to the provenance of the gold, and as a result of uncertainties in the process, the costs of due diligence and audit, or the reputational risks of defining their product or a constituent part as containing a ’conflict mineral’ would be too burdensome for the company’s customers. Accordingly, manufacturers may decide to switch supply sources or to substitute gold with other minerals not covered by the initiatives. This could have a material negative impact on the gold industry, including on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial results.

Mining operations and projects are vulnerable to supply chain disruption with the result that operations and development projects could be adversely affected by shortages of, as well as the lead times to deliver, strategic spares, critical consumables, mining equipment or metallurgical plant.

AngloGold Ashanti’s operations and development projects could be adversely affected by both shortages and long lead times to deliver strategic spares, critical consumables, mining equipment and metallurgical plant. Import restrictions, such as those introduced by the Argentine government in 2011, can also delay the delivery of parts and equipment.

In the past, the company and other gold mining companies experienced shortages in critical consumables, particularly as production capacity in the global mining industry expanded in response to increased demand for commodities. AngloGold Ashanti has also experienced increased delivery times for these items. Shortages have resulted in unanticipated price increases and production delays and shortfalls, resulting in a rise in both operating costs and in the capital expenditure necessary to maintain and develop mining operations.

Individually, AngloGold Ashanti and other gold mining companies have limited influence over manufacturers and suppliers of these items. In certain cases there are a limited number of suppliers for certain strategic spares, critical consumables, mining equipment or metallurgical plant who command superior bargaining power relative to the company. The company could at times face limited supply or increased lead time in the delivery of such items.

For example, poor availability of drill rigs, heavy machinery and fleet equipment hampered underground drilling and overall operational performance at the Serra Grande mine in Brazil in 2011. In addition, the unreliability of oxygen and lime supply similarly affected production at the Vaal River and West Wits Surface Operations in South Africa throughout the year.

The company’s procurement policy is to source mining and processing equipment and consumables from suppliers that meet its corporate values and ethical standards although risk remains around the management of ethical supply chains. In certain locations, where a limited number of suppliers meet these standards, further strain is placed on the supply chain, thereby increasing the cost of supply and delivery times.

Furthermore, supply chains and rates can be impacted by natural disasters and other phenomena, such as earthquakes, weather patterns and climate change. For example, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan has had a limited knock-on effect on the supply of equipment, lead times and costs of certain supplies. If AngloGold Ashanti experiences shortages, or increased lead times in the delivery of strategic spares, critical consumables, mining equipment or processing plant, the company’s results of operations and its financial condition could be adversely impacted.

Diversity in interpretation and application of accounting literature in the mining industry may impact reported financial results.

The mining industry has limited industry-specific accounting literature. As a result, there is diverse interpretation and application of accounting literature on mining specific issues. AngloGold Ashanti, for example, capitalises drilling and costs related to defining and delineating a residual mineral deposit that has not been classified as a Proved and Probable Reserve at a development project or production stage mine. Some companies, however, expense such costs.

As and when this diverse interpretation and application is addressed, the company’s reported results could be adversely impacted should the adopted interpretation differ from the position it currently follows.

A breach or breaches in governance processes, or fraud, bribery and corruption may lead to regulatory penalties, loss of licences or permits, and loss of reputation.

Since AngloGold Ashanti operates globally in multiple jurisdictions and with numerous and complex frameworks, its governance and compliance processes may not prevent potential breaches of law, accounting or other governance practices. AngloGold Ashanti’s Code of Business Principles and Ethics, among other standards and guidance may not prevent instances of fraudulent behaviour and dishonesty, nor guarantee compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Such a breach or breaches may lead to regulatory fines, litigation, and loss of operating licences or permits, and may damage the company’s reputation.

Breaches in information technology security and governance process may adversely impact business activities.

AngloGold Ashanti maintains global information technology and communication networks and applications to support its business activities. Information technology security processes may not prevent future malicious actions or fraud, resulting in corruption of operating systems, theft of commercially sensitive data, misappropriation of funds and business and operational disruption. Material system breaches and failures could result in significant interruptions that could in turn affect AngloGold Ashanti’s operating results and reputation.

Risks related to AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition as a result of factors specific to the company and its operations

AngloGold Ashanti has removed the last of its gold hedging instruments and long-term sales contracts, which exposes the company to potential gains from subsequent commodity price increases but exposes it entirely to subsequent commodity price decreases.

AngloGold Ashanti removed the last of its gold hedging instruments in October 2010 to provide greater participation in a rising gold price environment. As a result, AngloGold Ashanti no longer has any protection against declines in the market price of gold compared with previous years.

A sustained decline in the price of gold could adversely impact the company’s operating results and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti’s mining rights in the countries in which it operates could be altered, suspended or cancelled for a variety of reasons, including breaches in its obligations in respect of its mining rights.

AngloGold Ashanti’s right to own and exploit Mineral Reserves and deposits is governed by the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which the mineral properties are located. Currently, a significant portion of the company’s Mineral Reserves and deposits are located in countries where mining rights could be suspended or cancelled should it breach its obligations in respect of the acquisition and exploitation of these rights.

In all of the countries in which AngloGold Ashanti operates, the formulation or implementation of government policies on certain issues may be unpredictable. This may include changes in laws relating to mineral rights and ownership of mining assets and the right to prospect and mine, and in extreme cases, nationalisation, expropriation or nullification of existing concessions, licences, permits, agreements and contracts.

For example, the Guinean government has announced in media reports that it will seek to increase its equity interest in mines and there is a call for debate on nationalisation and increased state ownership in South Africa. Any existing and new mining and exploration operations and projects are subject to various national and local laws, policies and regulations governing the ownership and the right to prospect or mine or develop proposed projects. For more details on the risks surrounding ownership of mining assets, see the section entitled "Title to AngloGold Ashanti’s properties may be uncertain and subject to challenge".

If AngloGold Ashanti is not able to obtain or maintain necessary permits, authorisations or agreements to prospect or mine or to implement planned projects, or continue its operations under conditions, or comply with all laws, regulations or requirements, or within time-frames that make such plans and operations economically viable, or if the laws impacting the company’s ownership of its mineral rights, or the right to prospect or mine change materially, or should governments increase their ownership in the mines or nationalise them, AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition could be adversely affected.

In South Africa, mining rights are linked to meeting various obligations that include the Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining Industry, referred to as the Mining Charter. The Mining Charter was amended in 2010 (the Revised Charter). Compliance with the Revised Charter, measured using a designated scorecard, requires that every mining company achieve 26% ownership by historically disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs) of its South African mining assets by May 2014, and achieve targeted levels of participation by HDSAs in various other aspects of management. The company will incur expenses in giving further effect to the Revised Charter and the scorecard.

The outcome of the review of the Mining Charter five years after promulgation was made public in September 2010. While compliant with ownership targets to be achieved by May 2014, AngloGold Ashanti must make further progress to achieve future targets, including further participation by HDSAs in various aspects of management, the upgrade of housing and accommodation at the company’s mines, further human resource development, mine community development, sustainable development and growth as well as procurement and enterprise development, certain of which are also included under the Code of Good Practice for the Minerals Industry and Housing and Living Conditions Standard, as defined and discussed below and which targets must also be achieved by May 2014.

As required by the South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), the Minister of Mineral Resources published a Code of Good Practice for the Minerals Industry (Code) and the Housing and Living Conditions Standard (Standard) in April 2009. The Code was developed to create principles to facilitate effective implementation of minerals and mining legislation and enhance implementation of the Mining Charter applicable to the mining industry. The Standard aims to include the provision of housing as an integral part of infrastructure during the development of a mine. Both the Code and the Standard provide that non-compliance equates to non-compliance with the MPRDA. It is unclear whether non-compliance with the Code or the Standard would lead to the cancellation or suspension of a mining right. Subsequent to the publication of the Code and the Standard, representatives of the Department of Mineral Resources, organised labour and the South African mining industry have engaged in discussions in an effort to address the concerns of the mining industry and to possibly amend the Code and the Standard. Furthermore, discussions related to the Code and Standard have become related to the review of the Mining Charter. It is anticipated that the contents of the Code and Standard will ultimately be amended to bring them in line with the Revised Charter. Details of the final Code and Standard are currently uncertain.

AngloGold Ashanti’s mining rights in South Africa can be suspended or cancelled by the Minister of Mineral Resources if, upon notice of a breach from the Minister, the company breaches its obligations in complying with the MPRDA. The MPRDA also imposes additional responsibilities on mining companies relating to environmental management and to environmental damage, degradation or pollution resulting from their prospecting or mining activities. AngloGold Ashanti has a policy of evaluating, minimising and addressing the environmental consequences of its activities and, consistent with this policy and the MPRDA, conducts an annual review of the environmental costs and liabilities associated with its South African operations in light of applicable requirements.

Title to AngloGold Ashanti’s properties may be uncertain and subject to challenge.

AngloGold Ashanti has operations in several countries where ownership of land is uncertain and where disputes may arise in relation to ownership. Certain of the company’s properties may be subject to the rights or the asserted rights of various community stakeholders, including indigenous people. The presence of those stakeholders may have an impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s ability to develop or operate its mining interests. For example, in Australia, the Native Title Act (1993) provides for the establishment and recognition of native title under certain circumstances. In South Africa, the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (1997) and the Restitution of Land Rights Act (1994) provide for various landholding rights. Such legislation is complex, difficult to predict and outside of the company’s control, and could therefore negatively affect the business results of new or existing projects. Where consultation with stakeholders is statutorily or otherwise mandated, there can be no assurance that relations will remain amicable, and disputes may lead to reduced access to properties or delays in operations.

Title to the company’s properties, particularly undeveloped ones, may also be defective or subject to challenge. Title insurance generally is not available, and title review does not necessarily preclude third parties from contesting ownership.

Where surveys have not been conducted, the precise area and location of the company’s claims may be in doubt. Accordingly, AngloGold Ashanti’s mineral properties may be subject to prior unregistered liens, agreements, transfers or claims, including native land claims, and title may be affected by, among other things, undetected defects.

AngloGold Ashanti may experience unforeseen difficulties, delays or costs in successfully implementing its business strategy and projects, and its strategy may not result in the anticipated benefits.

The successful implementation of the company’s business strategy and projects depends upon many factors, including those outside its control. For example: the successful management of costs will depend on prevailing market prices for input costs; the ability to grow the business will depend on the successful implementation of the company’s existing and proposed project development initiatives and continued exploration success, as well as on the availability of attractive merger and acquisition opportunities, all of which are subject to the relevant mining and company specific risks as outlined in these risk factors.

AngloGold Ashanti may prove unable to deliver on production targets, including in potentially critical areas, such as the Obuasi turnaround plan in Ghana, as well as on key capital project execution, including at the Tropicana project in Australia and with regard to the implementation of the company’s new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. For more details on the risks surrounding the ERP implementation, see the section entitled "The implementation of an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system could have an adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s operational results and its financial condition."

AngloGold Ashanti cannot give assurance that unforeseen difficulties, delays or costs will not adversely affect the successful implementation of its business strategy, or that the strategy and projects will result in the anticipated benefits.

Any acquisition or acquisitions that AngloGold Ashanti may complete may expose the company to new geographic, political, social, operating, financial and geological risks.

AngloGold Ashanti may pursue the acquisition of producing, development and advanced stage exploration properties and companies. Any such acquisition may change the scale of the company’s business and operations and may expose it to new geographic, geological, political, social, operating, financial, legal, regulatory and contractual risks. For example: there may be a significant change in commodity prices after the company has committed to complete the transaction and established the purchase price or share exchange ratio; a material orebody may prove below expectations; AngloGold Ashanti may have difficulty integrating and assimilating the operations and personnel of any acquired companies, realising anticipated synergies and maximising the financial and strategic position of the combined enterprise, and maintaining uniform standards, policies and controls; the integration may disrupt the company’s on-going business and its relationships with employees, suppliers and contractors; the acquisition may divert management’s attention from AngloGold Ashanti’s day-to-day business; and the acquired business may have detected liabilities which may be significant.

Furthermore, we operate and acquire businesses in different countries, with different regulatory and operating cultures, which may exacerbate the risks described above.

In the event that the company chooses to raise debt capital to finance any such acquisition, the company’s leverage will be increased. Should the company choose to use equity as consideration for an acquisition, existing shareholders may suffer dilution. Alternatively, the company may choose to finance any acquisition with its existing resources, which could decrease its ability to fund future capital expenditures.

There can be no assurance that the company would be successful in overcoming these risks or any other problems encountered in connection with acquisitions. Failure to implement our acquisition strategy or to integrate acquired businesses successfully could have material adverse effects on the company’s growth and business results.

Ageing infrastructure at some of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations could adversely impact its business.

Deep level gold mining shafts are usually designed with a lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Vertical shafts consist of large quantities of infrastructure steelwork for guiding conveyances and accommodating services such as high and low tension electric cables, air and water pipe columns. Rising temperatures in the deeper mining areas can also lead to increased cooling requirements in the form of upgraded and expanded ice plants. Maintaining this infrastructure requires skilled human resources, capital allocation, management and planned maintenance.

Once a shaft has reached the end of its intended lifespan, higher than normal maintenance and care is required. Incidents resulting in production delays, increased costs or industrial accidents may occur. Such incidents may have an adverse effect on the company’s results of operations and financial position.

Some of AngloGold Ashanti’s technologies are unproven and failure could adversely impact costs and production.

AngloGold Ashanti has teamed up with various specialists to engineer new solutions to environmental management, mine design, rock breaking and underground logistics, among others. The company has invested in new technologies, including phyto-technologies to reduce seepage and address soil and groundwater contamination, and in mine support technologies to minimise the impact of seismic activity. The company is also attempting to develop technologies to access the deeper reaches of South African mines. One of the chief initiatives expected to be implemented in 2012 is a vertical transport optimisation project to accelerate the delivery of consumables and other essential items to work crews, in order to increase production time at the face.

Some aspects of these technologies are unproven and their eventual operational outcome or viability cannot be assessed with certainty. The costs, productivity and other benefits from these initiatives, and the consequent effects on AngloGold Ashanti’s future earnings and financial condition, may vary from expectations. Failure of the company’s condition to realise the anticipated benefits could result in increased costs, an inability to realise production or growth plans, or could adversely affect its operational performance.

The level of AngloGold Ashanti’s indebtedness could adversely impact its business.

As at 31 December 2011, AngloGold Ashanti had gross borrowings (excluding the mandatory convertible bonds) of approximately $1.73 billion.

AngloGold Ashanti’s indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on its flexibility to conduct business. For example, the company may be required to use a large portion of its cash flow to pay the principal and interest on its debt, which will reduce funds available to finance existing operations, the development of new organic growth opportunities and further acquisitions. In addition, under the terms of the company’s borrowing facilities from its banks, AngloGold Ashanti is obliged to meet certain financial and other covenants. The company’s ability to continue to meet these covenants and to service its debt will depend on its future financial performance which will be affected by its operating performance as well as by financial and other factors, certain of which are beyond the control of the company.

Should the cash flow from operations be insufficient, AngloGold Ashanti could breach its financial and other covenants. Covenant breaches, if interpreted as events of default under debt agreements, could allow lenders to accelerate payment of the debt. Any such acceleration could result in the acceleration of indebtedness under other financial instruments. As a result, the company may be required to refinance all or part of the existing debt, use existing cash balances, issue additional equity or sell assets. AngloGold Ashanti cannot be sure that it will be able to refinance its debt on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. The company’s ability to access the bank, public debt or equity capital markets on an efficient basis may be constrained by dislocation in the credit markets or capital and liquidity constraints in the banking, debt or equity markets at the time of issuance.

Certain factors may affect AngloGold Ashanti’s ability to support the carrying amount of its property, plant and equipment, acquired properties, investments and goodwill on the balance sheet. If the carrying amount of its assets is not recoverable, AngloGold Ashanti may be required to recognise an impairment charge, which could be significant.

AngloGold Ashanti reviews and tests the carrying amount of its assets when events or changes in circumstances suggest that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. The company values individual mining assets at the lowest level for which cash flows are identifiable and independent of cash flows of other mining assets and liabilities.

If there are indications that impairment may have occurred, AngloGold Ashanti prepares estimates of expected future cash flows for each group of assets. Expected future cash flows are inherently uncertain, and could materially change over time. They are significantly affected by reserve and production estimates, together with economic factors such as spot and forward gold prices, discount rates, currency exchange rates, estimates of costs to produce reserves and future capital expenditure.

If any of these uncertainties occur, either alone or in combination, management could be required to recognise an impairment, which could have a material adverse effect on the company’s financial condition and results of operations.

AngloGold Ashanti expects to have significant financing requirements.

AngloGold Ashanti’s existing board-approved development projects and exploration initiatives will require significant funding. These include: Tropicana in Australia; the Cerro Vanguardia heap leach project in Argentina; the Mponeng Ventersdorp Contact Reef, Mponeng CLR and Zaaiplaats projects in South Africa; Córrego do Sítio and Lamego in Brazil; and the mine life extension project (MLE1) at Cripple Creek & Victor in the US.

Potential future development projects will also require significant funding if and when approved by the AngloGold Ashanti board. These include the: La Colosa and Gramalote projects in Colombia; Kibali and Mongbwalu projects in the DRC; Cerro Vanguardia underground mining project in Argentina; Nova Lima Sul project in Brazil; Sadiola Deeps project in Mali; Cripple Creek & Victor further mine life extension project (MLE2) in the US; as well as various other exploration projects and feasibility studies.

AngloGold Ashanti estimates that over the next three years, growth initiatives will require project capital expenditure (excluding stay in business and ore reserve development capital expenditure) of approximately $3.4bn (subject to escalation). The company’s capital expenditure plans and requirements are subject to a number of risks, contingencies and other factors, some of which are beyond its control, and therefore the actual future capital expenditure and investments may differ significantly from the current planned amounts.

AngloGold Ashanti’s operating cash flow and credit facilities may be insufficient to meet all of these expenditures, depending on the timing and cost of development of these and other projects as well as operating performance and available headroom under its credit facilities. As a result, new sources of capital may be needed to meet the funding requirements of these developments, to fund ongoing business activities and to pay dividends. AngloGold Ashanti’s ability to raise and service significant new sources of capital will be a function of macroeconomic conditions, the condition of the financial markets, future gold prices, the company’s operational performance and operating cash flow and debt position, among other factors.

The company’s ability to raise further debt financing in the future and the cost of such financing will depend on, among other factors, its prevailing credit rating, which may be affected by the company’s ability to maintain its outstanding debt and financial ratios at levels acceptable to the credit ratings agencies, its business prospects or other factors. As a result, in the event of lower gold prices, unanticipated operating or financial challenges, any dislocation in financial markets or new funding limitations, AngloGold Ashanti’s ability to pursue new business opportunities, invest in existing and new projects, fund its ongoing business activities and retire or service outstanding debt and pay dividends, could be significantly constrained, all of which could adversely impact the company’s results of operations and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti does not operate some of its significant joint venture projects and other interests. If the operators of these projects do not perform effectively and efficiently, the company’s investment in these projects could be adversely affected and its reputation could be harmed.

AngloGold Ashanti’s joint ventures at Morila in Mali and at Kibali in the DRC are operated by the company’s joint venture partners. In addition, certain of AngloGold Ashanti’s exploration ventures are operated by the relevant joint venture partner. AngloGold Ashanti’s marine gold joint venture with De Beers is operated by an independent company jointly owned by AngloGold Ashanti and De Beers, with a significant part of the technical input subcontracted to De Beers or other marine service providers.

In South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti’s Ergo operations are currently operated by Ergo Mining, a subsidiary of DRDGOLD Limited (DRDGOLD). The Ergo operations were sold in 2007 to DRDGOLD and DRDGOLD has been managing and operating the assets pending the transfer of the mining rights from AngloGold Ashanti to DRDGOLD.

While AngloGold Ashanti provides strategic management and operational advice to its joint venture partners in respect of these projects, the company cannot ensure that these projects are operated in compliance with the standards that AngloGold Ashanti applies in its other operations. If these joint ventures are not operated effectively or efficiently, including as a result of weaknesses in the policies, procedures and controls implemented by the joint venture partners, the company’s investment in the relevant project could be adversely affected. In addition, negative publicity associated with ineffective and inefficient operatorship, particularly relating to any resulting accidents or environmental incidents, could harm the company’s reputation and therefore its prospects and potentially its financial condition. Further, any failure of joint venture partners to meet their obligations to AngloGold Ashanti or to third parties, or any disputes with respect to the parties’ respective rights and obligations, could have a material adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti’s Mineral Reserve, deposits and mining operations are located in countries that face political, economic and security risks.

Some of AngloGold Ashanti’s mineral deposits and mining and exploration operations are located in countries that have experienced political instability and economic uncertainty. In all of the countries where the company operates, there is a focus on resource nationalism with governments seeking to get more economic benefits from the high commodity prices. This entails review of mining codes and stability agreements which were designed under different economic environments.

The formulation or implementation of government policies include regulations which impact its operations and changes in laws relating to issues such as mineral rights and asset ownership, royalties, taxation and taxation disputes, ‘windfall’ or ‘super’ taxation, and non-recovery of taxation refunds, import and export duties, currency transfers, restrictions on foreign currency holdings and repatriation of earnings. These regulations are continually changing and generally require progressively higher payments to governments, notably in the form of royalties and taxes.

Any existing and new mining, exploration operations and projects that the company carries out will continue to be subject to various national and local laws, policies and regulations governing the ownership, prospecting, development and mining of mineral reserves, taxation and royalties, exchange controls, import and export duties and restrictions, investment approvals, employee and social community relations and other matters.

If, in one or more of these countries, AngloGold Ashanti were not able to obtain or maintain necessary permits, authorisations or agreements to implement planned projects or continue its operations under conditions or within time frames that make such plans and operations economic, or if legal, ownership, fiscal (including all royalties and duties), exchange control, employment, environmental and social laws and regimes, or the governing political authorities change materially, resulting in changes to such laws and regimes, this could have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s operating results, financial condition, and, in extreme cases, on the viability of an operation.

Certain of the countries in which AngloGold Ashanti has mineral deposits or mining or exploration operations, including the DRC, Guinea and Colombia, have in the past experienced, and in certain cases continue to experience, a difficult security environment as well as political instability. In particular, various illegal groups active in regions in which the company is present may pose a credible threat of military repression, terrorism, civil unrest, extortion and kidnapping, which could have an adverse effect on its operations in these and other regions. In some instances, risk assessments categorise threats as serious enough to require resort to public security forces, such as national police or military units on a near-permanent basis. In the event that continued operation in these countries compromise the company’s security or business principles, AngloGold Ashanti may withdraw from these countries on a temporary or permanent basis. This could have a material adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations.

Since 2009, the company has recorded an almost five-fold increase in the instances of injury to security personnel, including members of AngloGold Ashanti’s internal security, private security companies and public security forces in certain jurisdictions. The rise in the number and severity of security incidents has come as a result of both increased illegal and artisanal mining and an increase in the level of organisation and funding of criminal activity around some of the company’s Continental African operations, spurred on by an escalating gold price. The most significant security challenges occur in areas where there is endemic poverty and high levels of unemployment. If the security environment surrounding the company’s operations that are most exposed to these challenges does not improve or further deteriorates, employee, third-party and community member injuries and fatalities could also increase. Any such increase could disrupt the company’s operations in certain mines and adversely affect its reputation and results of operation.

Furthermore, the company has at times experienced strained relationships with some of the communities in which it operates. AngloGold Ashanti operates in several regions where poverty, unemployment and the lack of access to alternative livelihoods mean that the creation and distribution of economic benefit from mining operations is a significant area of focus for community and government. Conflict with communities has led to community protests and business interruptions, particularly at the Siguiri mine in Guinea, where community members protested in four separate incidents in 2010 over issues relating to electricity supply, land compensation and employment, and a violent community protest interrupted operations for three days in 2011.

AngloGold Ashanti may be impacted by the outcome of elections in jurisdictions in which it has operations and ancillary political processes leading up to elections. Presidential elections are planned in the United States, Mali, Ghana, and Guinea during 2012.

Political instability and uncertainty or government changes to the fiscal terms governing AngloGold Ashanti’s operations may discourage future investments in certain jurisdictions, which may have an adverse impact on the company’s ability to access new assets and could potentially reduce future growth opportunities.

Early in 2011 the Guinean government confirmed its intention to review all mining contracts under the auspices of international law, indicating that Guinea would seek to own a stake of at least a third of all mining projects located in Guinea. Currently the Government of Guinea holds a stake of 15% in the Siguiri Gold Mine. The review process has not yet commenced and AngloGold Ashanti is currently unable to predict the timing and outcome of such review.

On 26 April 2011, it was announced by Reuters that a copy of the new draft mining code includes a compulsory 15% stake for the government in operations, with an option to acquire an additional 20%. Also according to Reuters, included in the draft mining code are provisions for a new Local Empowerment Fund, which will be funded from tax levies, and changes to the price reference point used for tax purposes from free-on-board to a rolling three-month average from the London Metals Exchange.

In Guinea, Mali and Tanzania, AngloGold Ashanti is due refunds of input tax and fuel duties which remain outstanding for periods longer than those provided for in the respective statutes. In addition, the company has other outstanding assessments and unresolved tax disputes in a number of countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Ghana. If the outstanding value-added tax on inputs is not received, the disputes are not resolved and assessments favourable to AngloGold Ashanti are not made, there could be an adverse effect upon the company’s results of operations and its financial condition.

The Government of Ghana recently amended its fiscal mining regime, increased its corporate taxation rates and imposed a windfall profit tax. AngloGold Ashanti may challenge this in light of the stability agreement entered into by the company with the government of Ghana in December 2003 and ratified by the Ghanaian Parliament in 2004. However, the Government of Ghana has recently announced that it has constituted a team to re-negotiate stability agreements with mining companies and AngloGold Ashanti expects to participate in these negotiations. No assurance can be given that the outcome of the company’s negotiations with the Government of Ghana will not have a material adverse impact on the company’s financial condition or operational results.

In November 2011, the lower house of the Australian Parliament passed the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT), which replaced the previously proposed Resource Super Profit Tax (RSPT) and would require a tax of 30% on profits above certain levels from coal and iron ore mining starting 1 July 2012. The Senate is due to debate the bill in 2012. Should the government of Australia reintroduce the RSPT or extend the MRRT to the gold mining industry, or if similar "super profit" taxes were introduced in Australia or any other country in which the company operates, this could have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition.

Illegal and artisanal mining occurs on AngloGold Ashanti’s properties, which can disrupt the company’s business and expose the company to liability.

Illegal and artisanal miners are active on, or adjacent to, some of AngloGold Ashanti’s Continental African and South American properties, which leads at times to interference with the company’s operations and results in conflict situations that present a security threat to property and human life. Artisanal mining is associated with a number of negative impacts, including environmental degradation, flouting of land rights, poor working practices, erosion of civil society, human rights abuse and funding of conflict. The environmental, social, safety and health impacts of artisanal mining are frequently attributed to formal mining activity, and it is often assumed that artisanally-mined gold is channelled through large-scale mining operators, even though artisanal and large-scale miners have distinct supply chains. These misconceptions impact negatively on the reputation of the industry.

The activities of the illegal miners, which include theft and shrinkage, could cause damage to AngloGold Ashanti’s properties, including pollution, underground fires, or personal injury or death, for which AngloGold Ashanti could potentially be held responsible. Illegal mining could result in the depletion of mineral deposits, potentially making the future mining of such deposits uneconomic. The presence of illegal miners could lead to project delays and disputes regarding the development or operation of commercial gold deposits. Illegal mining and theft, including by AngloGold Ashanti employees or contractors, could also result in lost gold reserves, mine stoppages, and have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition or results of operations. In 2011, the company recorded an increase in the number and severity of security incidents, due in part to a greater level of organisation among criminal elements and syndicates in AngloGold Ashanti’s areas of operation as well as an increase in artisanal, small-scale and illegal mining activity in general.

Labour disruptions and increased labour costs could have an adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti employees in South Africa, Ghana, Guinea and some South American countries are highly unionised. Trade unions, therefore, have a significant impact on the company’s labour relations, as well as on social and political reforms, most notably in South Africa. There is a risk that strikes or other types of conflict with unions or employees may occur at any of the company’s operations, particularly where the labour force is unionised. Labour disruptions may be used to advocate labour, political or social goals in the future. For example, labour disruptions may occur in sympathy with strikes or labour unrest in other sectors of the economy. In late July 2011, AngloGold Ashanti miners joined others in the South African petroleum, coal and diamond industries in a wage-related strike. The action at AngloGold Ashanti’s operation lasted five days and the subsequent ramp-up of production was slower than expected. The resulting payroll increases have impacted the financial performance of all South African operations. Material labour disruptions could have an adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and financial condition.

In South Africa, it has become established practice to negotiate wages and conditions of employment with the unions every two years through the Chamber of Mines of South Africa. South African employment law sets out minimum terms and conditions of employment for employees, which form the benchmark for all employment contracts. As at 31 December 2011, approximately 61% of the company’s workforce, excluding contractors, or approximately 52% of its total workforce, was located in South Africa.

An agreement was signed with the unions in August 2011, following negotiations between the Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the United Associations of South Africa, (UASA) (on behalf of some clerical and junior management staff) and Solidarity (on behalf of a small number of miners).

The mining unions and gold mining companies signed a two-year agreement for an increase of between 8% and 10%, depending on the level of worker experience. AngloGold Ashanti cannot give assurance that it will be able to renegotiate this agreement on satisfactory terms when it next expires.

In Ghana, a three-year, wage agreement for the years 2009 to 2011, effective from 1 January 2009, was reached towards the end of 2009. The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in April 2012. As at 31 December 2011, approximately 11% of the company’s workforce, excluding contractors, or approximately 12% of the total workforce, was located in Ghana. AngloGold Ashanti cannot give assurance that it will be able to renegotiate this agreement on satisfactory terms following its expiry at the end of December 2011.

Labour costs represent a substantial proportion of the company’s total operating costs and at many operations, including its South African, Ghanaian and Tanzanian operations, is the company’s single largest component of operating costs. Any increases in labour costs have to be offset by greater productivity efforts by all operations and employees, failing which such increase in labour costs could have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition.

Results may be further impaired if the company incurs penalties for failing to meet standards set by labour laws regarding worker rights. For example, employment law in South Africa imposes monetary penalties for neglecting to report to government authorities on progress made towards achieving employment equity in the workplace, and Ghanaian law contains broad provisions requiring mining companies to recruit and train Ghanaian personnel and to use the services of Ghanaian companies. In Australia, the federal government has recently introduced a new industrial relations system that includes "good faith bargaining" obligations for employers, fewer restrictions on the content of collective agreements and an enhanced role for union officials as bargaining representatives, parties to agreements and participants in dispute resolution.

The use of contractors at certain of the company’s operations may expose AngloGold Ashanti to delays or suspensions in mining activities and increases in mining costs.

AngloGold Ashanti uses contractors at certain of its operations to mine and deliver ore to processing plants as well as for other purposes. At mines employing mining contractors, contracting costs represent a significant proportion of the total operating costs of these operations and the company does not own all of the mining equipment. For example, increased contractor rates at the Sadiola mine in Mali contributed to a significant rise in total cash costs in the final quarter of 2011.

AngloGold Ashanti’s operations could be disrupted, resulting in additional costs and liabilities, if the mining contractors at affected mines have financial difficulties or if a dispute arises in renegotiating a contract, or if there is a delay in replacing an existing contractor and its operating equipment to meet business needs at expected cost levels. Increases in contract mining rates, in the absence of associated productivity increases, will also have an adverse impact on the company’s results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s reduced control over those aspects of operations which are the responsibility of contractors, contractor failure to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements, and their inability to manage their workforce could adversely affect AngloGold Ashanti’s reputation, results of operations and financial position, and may result in the company incurring liability to third parties due to the actions of the contractor.

AngloGold Ashanti competes with mining and other companies for key human resources.

AngloGold Ashanti competes on a global basis with mining and other companies, to attract and retain key human resources at all levels with the appropriate technical skills and operating and managerial experience necessary to operate its business. This is further exacerbated in the current environment of increased mining activity across the globe, combined with the global shortage of key mining skills, including geologists, mining engineers, metallurgists and skilled artisans.

The retention of staff is particularly challenging in South Africa, where, in addition to the impacts of global industry shortages of skilled labour, AngloGold Ashanti is required to achieve employment equity targets of participation by HDSAs in management and other positions. AngloGold Ashanti competes with all companies in South Africa to attract and retain a small but growing pool of HDSAs with the necessary skills and experience.

The recruitment of skilled workers is becoming increasingly competitive in Argentina as well as more mining development occurs nationally and regionally. Also material is the scarcity of skills in the resource sector of Western Australia due to the mining boom currently underway in the region, particularly with regard to safety management. If safety systems and training cannot be strengthened to ensure that operators achieve the required level of competence, the incidence of accidents may rise.

There can be no assurance that the company will attract and retain skilled and experienced employees. Should it fail to do so or lose any of its key personnel, business and growth prospects may be harmed and this could have an adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition.

The prevalence of occupational health diseases and the potential costs and liabilities related thereto may have an adverse effect on the business and results of operations of AngloGold Ashanti.

The primary areas of focus in respect of occupational health of employees within the company’s operations are noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and occupational lung diseases (OLD), which include pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) from various causes and silicosis in individuals exposed to silica dust. These require active dust management strategies in underground operations, particularly in South Africa where a significant number of silicosis cases are still reported each year. AngloGold Ashanti provides occupational health services to its employees at its occupational health centres and clinics continues to improve preventative occupational hygiene initiatives. If the costs associated with providing such occupational health services increase significantly beyond anticipated or budgeted amounts, this could have an adverse effect on the results of operations of AngloGold Ashanti and its financial condition. Actual and alleged health and safety incidents or breaches of standards may also adversely impact the company’s reputation.

A claim filed by a former employee of AngloGold Ashanti’s predecessor, Vaal Reefs Mining and Exploration Company Limited, seeks approximately R2.6 million for damages resulting from silicosis allegedly contracted while working on a mine. In March 2011, the Constitutional Court rejected the lower court’s decision that the claim was precluded by statutory compensation and granted leave to the decedent’s executor to proceed with his case in the High Court and seek a claim for damages under common law against AngloGold Ashanti. This will comprise, among other elements, providing evidence that Mr. Mankayi contracted silicosis as a result of negligent conduct on the part of AngloGold Ashanti.

As a result of the Constitutional Court decision, AngloGold Ashanti could be subject to numerous similar claims, including a potential class action or similar group claim. AngloGold Ashanti is studying the details of the Constitutional Court judgement and will defend the case and any subsequent claims on their merits. In view of the limited information currently available, no reliable estimate can be made for this potential liability at this time. Should AngloGold Ashanti be unsuccessful in defending the action in the High Court or actions by any other individuals or groups that lodge similar claims in the future, such claims would have an adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition which could potentially be material.

In response to the effects of silicosis in labour-sending communities, a number of mining companies (under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa) together with the NUM, which is the largest union in the mining sector, in South Africa, and the national and regional departments of health, have embarked on a project to assist in delivering compensation and relief by mining companies under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) to affected communities.

In light of the Constitutional Court judgement, AngloGold Ashanti is calling for the industry to engage with government (and other stakeholders) to seek an appropriate industry-wide solution. AngloGold Ashanti can provide no assurances that an industry-wide solution can be reached or that the terms thereof will not have a material adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti faces certain risks in dealing with HIV/AIDS, particularly at its South African operations and with tropical disease outbreaks such as malaria, and other diseases which may have an adverse effect on the company’s results of operations and financial condition.

AIDS and associated diseases remain one of the major health care challenges faced by AngloGold Ashanti’s South African operations. Workforce prevalence studies indicate that HIV prevalence rates among AngloGold Ashanti’s South African workforce may be as high as 30%. AngloGold Ashanti continues to develop and implement programmes to help those infected with HIV and prevent new infections from spreading. Since 2001, the company has offered a voluntary counselling and HIV testing programme for employees in South Africa. In 2002, it began to offer anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to HIV positive employees who met the current medical criteria for the initiation of ART. From April 2003, AngloGold Ashanti began a roll-out of the treatment to all eligible employees desiring it. As at December 2011, approximately 2,400 employees were receiving treatment using anti-retroviral drugs.

Malaria and other tropical diseases pose significant health risks at all of the company’s operations in central, west and east Africa where such diseases may assume epidemic proportions because of ineffective national control programmes. Malaria is a major cause of death in young children and pregnant women but also gives rise to fatalities and absenteeism in adult men. Other conditions such as heart disease, chronic diseases, and obesity are of increasing incidence and concern.

Such diseases impair the health of workers and negatively affect productivity and profitability as a result of workers’ diminished focus or skill, absenteeism, treatment costs and allocated resources. AngloGold Ashanti cannot guarantee that any current or future medical programme will be successful in preventing or reducing the infection rate among its employees or in affecting consequent illness or mortality rates. AngloGold Ashanti may incur significant costs in addressing this issue in the future, which could also adversely impact the company’s results of operations and financial condition.

The costs and impacts associated with the pumping of water inflows from closed mines adjacent to the company’s operations could have an adverse effect on its results of operations.

Certain of AngloGold Ashanti’s mining operations are located adjacent to the mining operations of other mining companies. The closure of a mining operation may have an impact upon continued operations at the adjacent mine if appropriate preventative steps are not taken. In particular, this can include the ingress of underground water where pumping operations at the adjacent closed mine are suspended. Such ingress could have an adverse effect upon any one of the company’s mining operations as a result of property damage, disruption to operations, additional pollution liabilities and pumping costs and consequently could have an adverse impact upon its results of operations and financial condition.

The potential costs associated with the remediation and prevention of groundwater contamination from the company’s operations or due to flooding from closed mines adjacent to the company’s operations could have a material adverse effect on the results of operations of AngloGold Ashanti and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti has identified groundwater contamination plumes at certain of its operations. Numerous scientific, technical and legal studies have been undertaken to assist in determining the magnitude of the contamination and to find sustainable remediation solutions, and, based thereon, the company has instituted processes to reduce seepage and to address soil and groundwater contamination, including monitored natural attenuation by the existing environment and phytotechnologies. Subject to the completion of trials, and the technology being a proven remediation technique, no reliable estimate can be made for the potential costs of remediation and prevention of groundwater contamination at AngloGold Ashanti’s operations.

Should these costs be significant, this could have a material adverse impact upon AngloGold Ashanti’s results of operations and its financial condition.

Deep groundwater contamination is a significant issue in South Africa, where groundwater in some older mining regions has infiltrated mined-out workings. It becomes acidic if exposed to sulphide minerals in these workings, presenting a potential contamination risk to shallow groundwater and eventually surface water resources if allowed to spread. AngloGold Ashanti has identified a flooding and future pollution risk posed by deep groundwater in the Klerksdorp and Far West Rand goldfields. AngloGold Ashanti’s Vaal River operations are part of the Klerksdorp goldfield and its West Wits operations are part of the Far West Rand goldfield. Various studies have been undertaken by AngloGold Ashanti since 1999. Due to the interconnected nature of underground mining operations in South Africa, any proposed solution needs to be a combined one supported by all the companies owning mines located in these goldfields. As a result, the South African Department of Mineral Resources and affected mining companies are now involved in the development of a Regional Mine Closure Strategy.

In view of the limitation of current information for the accurate estimation of a liability, no reliable estimate can be made for this obligation, which could be material and have an adverse impact on AngloGold Ashanti’s financial condition.

The occurrence of events for which AngloGold Ashanti is not insured or for which its insurance is inadequate may adversely affect cash flows and overall profitability.

AngloGold Ashanti maintains insurance to protect only against catastrophic events which could have a significant adverse effect on its operations and profitability. This insurance is maintained in amounts that the company believes to be reasonable depending upon the circumstances surrounding each identified risk.

However, damage and third-party claims arising from catastrophic events may exceed the limit of liability on insurance policies the company has in place. Furthermore, AngloGold Ashanti’s insurance does not cover all potential risks associated with its business and may exclude certain parts of its business. AngloGold Ashanti may elect not to insure certain risks due to the high premiums or for various other reasons, including an assessment that the risks are remote.

The company may not be able to obtain insurance coverage at acceptable premiums. Insurance for certain risks in particular, such as loss of title to mineral property, environmental pollution, or other hazards resulting from exploration and production, is not generally available to mining companies on acceptable terms. The availability and cost of insurance coverage can vary considerably from year to year as a result of events beyond the company’s control or from claims, and this can result in higher premiums and periodically being unable to maintain the levels or types of insurance carried.

The occurrence of events for which AngloGold Ashanti is not insured will adversely impact its cash flows, its results of operations and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti is subject to the risk of litigation, the causes and costs of which are not always known.

AngloGold Ashanti is subject to litigation, arbitration and other legal proceedings arising in the normal course of business and may be involved in disputes that may result in litigation. The causes of potential future litigation cannot be known and may arise from, among other things, business activities, environmental and health and safety concerns, share price volatility or failure to comply with disclosure obligations. The results of litigation cannot be predicted with certainty but could include fines, and the loss of licences, concessions, or rights, among other things.

In the event of a dispute involving foreign operations of the company, AngloGold Ashanti may be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of foreign courts or may not be successful in subjecting foreign persons to the jurisdiction of courts in South Africa or the United States.

A claim filed by a former employee of AngloGold Ashanti’s predecessor, Vaal Reefs Mining and Exploration Company Limited, seeks approximately R2.6m for damages resulting from silicosis allegedly contracted while working on a mine. In March 2011, the Constitutional Court rejected the lower court’s decision that the claim was precluded by statutory compensation and granted leave to the decedent’s executor to proceed with his case in the High Court and seek a claim for damages under common law against AngloGold Ashanti. In Colombia, the company is also involved in an action in the Administrative Superior Court of the Cundinamarca District against the Environmental Ministry following the issuance of a fine against AngloGold Ashanti; and six class action lawsuits flowing in part from the alleged breach of Article 34 of the Mining Code and in part from allegations that activities in ‘restricted areas’ contravene environmental legislation, as detailed in the Directors’ Report.

Should the company be unable to resolve disputes favourably or be able to enforce its rights, this may have a material adverse impact on the company’s financial performance, cash flow and results of operations.

Sales of large quantities of AngloGold Ashanti’s ordinary shares and American Depository Shares (ADSs), and the perception that these sales may occur or other dilution of the company’s equity, could adversely affect the prevailing market price of the company’s securities.

The bulk of AngloGold Ashanti’s shares are held by a relatively small number of investors with the top four institutional holders controlling around 24% of free float.

The market price of the company’s securities could fall if large quantities of ordinary shares or ADSs are sold in the public market, if there is divestment by certain types or groupings of investors, or if there is the perception in the marketplace that such sales could occur. Subject to applicable securities laws, holders of AngloGold Ashanti’s ordinary shares or ADSs may sell them at any time. The market price of the company’s ordinary shares or ADSs could also fall as a result of any future offerings AngloGold Ashanti makes of its ordinary shares, ADSs, or securities exchangeable or exercisable for the company’s ordinary shares or ADSs, or the perception in the market place that these offerings might occur. AngloGold Ashanti may make such offerings, including offerings of additional ADS rights, share rights or similar securities, at any time or from time to time in the future.

Fluctuations in the exchange rate of currencies may reduce the market value of AngloGold Ashanti’s securities, as well as the market value of any dividends or distributions paid by the company.

AngloGold Ashanti has historically declared all dividends in South African rands. As a result, exchange rate movements may have affected and may continue to affect the Australian dollar, the British pound, the Ghanaian cedi and the US dollar value of these dividends, as well as of any other distributions paid by the relevant depositary to investors that hold the company’s securities. This may reduce the value of these securities to investors.

AngloGold Ashanti’s memorandum and articles of association allow for dividends and distributions to be declared in any currency at the discretion of the board of directors, or the company’s shareholders at a general meeting. If and to the extent that AngloGold Ashanti opts to declare dividends and distributions in US dollars, exchange rate movements will not affect the US dollar value of any dividends or distributions. Nevertheless, the value of any dividend or distribution in Australian dollars, British pounds, Ghanaian cedis or South African rands will continue to be affected. If and to the extent that dividends and distributions are declared in South African rands, exchange rate movements will continue to affect the Australian dollar, British pound, Ghanaian cedi and US dollar value of these dividends and distributions. Furthermore, the market value of AngloGold Ashanti’s securities as expressed in Australian dollars, British pounds, Ghanaian cedis, US dollars and South African rands will continue to fluctuate in part as a result of foreign exchange fluctuations.

The proposal announced by the South African government to replace the Secondary Tax on Companies with a withholding tax on dividends and other distributions may impact the amount of dividends or other distributions received by AngloGold Ashanti’s shareholders.

On 21 February 2007, the South African government announced that a 10% withholding tax on dividends and other distributions payable to shareholders would be implemented. In his budget speech on 22 February 2012, the South African Minister of Finance announced that the withholding tax on dividends and other distributions payable to shareholders will be increased from 10% to 15% effective 1 April 2012.

This withholding tax replaces the Secondary Tax on Companies and although this may reduce the tax payable by AngloGold Ashanti’s South African operations, thereby potentially increasing distributable earnings, the withholding tax on dividends and other distributions will generally reduce the amount of dividends or other distributions received by AngloGold Ashanti shareholders.

AngloGold Ashanti may not pay dividends or make similar payments to shareholders in the future.

AngloGold Ashanti pays cash dividends only if there are sufficient funds available for that purpose. Fund availability depends upon many factors that include the amount of cash available in relation to AngloGold Ashanti’s capital expenditure on existing infrastructure and exploration and other projects.

Under South African law, companies are entitled to pay a dividend or similar payment to its shareholders only if the company meets the solvency and liquidity tests set out in legislation, and the company’s articles of association.

Given these factors, including the capital and investment needs of the company, and the board of directors’ discretion to declare a dividend that includes the amount and timing thereof, cash dividends may not be paid in the future.

The implementation of an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system could have an adverse effect on AngloGold Ashanti’s operational results and its financial condition.

AngloGold Ashanti is implementing a single, global ERP system to support all operations managed by AngloGold Ashanti. The ERP system is being implemented over a three and a half-year period which commenced in August 2011. The contemplated implementation of an ERP system on a global basis is inherently a high-risk initiative due to the potential for implementation cost and time overruns. In addition, such implementation could affect the ability of AngloGold Ashanti to report and manage information if difficulties in the implementation and operation of the system are experienced, which could have an adverse effect upon AngloGold Ashanti’s operational results and its financial condition.