Navigating regulatory and political
uncertainty and risk

Increasing cooperation with government and communities

Political and regulatory uncertainty and finding ways to navigate this risk remains a key material issue for AngloGold Ashanti. Rapid changes in the global economy have resulted in increased expectations on mining companies and the sector to play a more constructive and developmental role in economic, social, environmental and governance issues. In the year, elections took place in the major mining markets of Argentina, South Africa and Australia, and in 2020 elections are planned in Guinea, Mali and Ghana.

Regulatory uncertainty

In South Africa, the industry, through the Minerals Council, is challenging aspects of the September 2018 Mining Charter III. The main issue is non-recognition of the continuing consequences of previous black empowerment transactions in respect of mining right transfers and renewals. While agreement through engagement is the preferred approach by the industry, the Minerals Council lodged a legal application for a review of that and two other aspects of the charter in March 2019. A court date is expected during 2020.

South America experienced a wave of political volatility fuelled by a long-term decline in living standards, and exacerbated by global trends of high economic inequality and declining faith in democratic institutions. The rise of anti-establishment politics continued to swing between left- and right-wing governments, creating some political turbulence in the region. We will continue to engage with the relevant government and external stakeholders to mitigate this risk.

Heightened regulatory uncertainties remained a key investor risk in sub-Saharan Africa, where several countries have made changes to mining legislation in recent years. However, it is worth noting that in March 2020 Geita Gold mine received the consent of the Minister of Minerals to change the mining method under our Special Mining License from open pit to underground method, subject to the requisite terms and conditions. In addition, challenges in some parts of the region include slow remittance of value-added tax refunds and administrative fees introduced by various government agencies.

In Brazil, two catastrophic collapses of TSFs in recent years have heavily influenced the shift in global environmental management regulations, which will inevitably lead to increased compliance and operational costs. The Brazilian operations continued to accelerate the transition towards compliance with the requirements of new local laws and regulations (for more information, please see the AngloGold Ashanti TSF disclosure).

In 2019, increasing sociopolitical risk and community disruptions continued to escalate globally. Political instability at a local government level, and the socio-economic challenges of poverty and unemployment, resulted in compromised relations between communities and the mining industry. Incidents of community opposition and grievances related to employment and land access were prominent. See the Contributing to resilient, self-sustaining communities section.

Increasing community and NGO activism and scrutiny continued to escalate tensions and we saw in some areas increasingly volatile environments where stakeholders are demanding a greater share of the benefits from resources. In Guinea, the mediation process, under the auspices of the CAO regarding human rights abuse allegations related to the Area 1 Resettlement at Siguiri, continued and four agreements were signed in 2019, which are being implemented.

Increasing pressure from host governments and communities on mining companies to overhaul local procurement processes and systems remains a key challenge to the industry. We are committed to implementing our localisation policies and strategies.

Major mining markets across Africa continued to face growing risks from ASM and illegal mining activities in 2019, exacerbated by the stronger gold price and deteriorating socio-economic conditions. We continued to engage with governments and other stakeholders on our ASM formalisation programmes. See the Artisanal and small-scale mining section.

Our actions

We aim to proactively manage the complex and evolving legislative and political landscape in order to ensure AngloGold Ashanti is a reliable partner in its working relationships with its key stakeholders. Using a common government relations framework that is actively translated into relevant actions and outcomes remains a key business driver.

In our endeavour to understand global normative frameworks, key national legislative policies, political environments and their current and future impacts on our business, we have reviewed our government relations operational model and strategic frameworks to further strengthen our engagement with governments.

In 2019, we continued to proactively respond to and manage our socio-political risks, using the adopted systematic approach for evaluating comparative socio-political risks across different operations. We continue to assess and track risk profiles through our six strategic focus areas shown belowalongside.

Regulatory compliance

AngloGold Ashanti is a responsible corporate citizen and promotes transparency and respects the rule of law where ever it operates. Our Group Compliance function continues to carry out compliance risk assessments across the group and provides guidance when possible breaches are found. Group Compliance reports to our Social, Ethics and Sustainability Committee that aligns itself to and monitors the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s recommendations on corruption and the 10 principles set out by the UNGC.

We also comply with the Business Leadership South Africa’s Business Integrity Pledge, which requires its members to actively combat corrupt practices wherever encountered and to have zero tolerance for corruption.

Whistle-blowing process

We enlisted the services of an independent law firm to conduct an external legal review of both the whistle-blowing policy and the broader whistle-blowing process. This was to ensure that our whistle-blowing policy is aligned with international best practice. In response to the Australian Whistle-blowing Act, Group Compliance and our Legal team in Australia drafted a whistle-blowing policy (in line with the group policy), to address the specific requirements of the Australian Act.

Furthermore, to make it easier to report incidents, and to facilitate an improved and streamlined reporting process, we have made a whistle-blowing desktop shortcut available to all AngloGold Ashanti employees on their work computers. This new shortcut directs employees who want to make an anonymous report directly to the third-party service provider’s whistle blowing service webpage. The anonymity of all whistle-blowers is guaranteed and all whistle-blowing reports are rigorously investigated in line with the company’s Code of Business Principles and Ethics.

Our code is the defining document on our values and ethics, and it provides a framework and sets requirements for the implementation of key corporate policies and guidelines. Among other areas, it addresses fraud, bribery and corruption, conflicts of interest, gifts, hospitality and sponsorships, the use of company assets, privacy and confidentiality, disclosures and insider trading, all of which are elements that lead to whistle-blowing incidents.

Several preventative initiatives continued in the year, with workshops for compliance champions held in the Americas, with the Growth and Exploration team, and in the South Africa and Continental Africa Regions.

Duty of care training was presented to members of the Growth and Exploration team from both the United States and Australia. The training included a focus on anti-bribery and anti-corruption, as well as compliance with corporate policies such as conflicts of interest.

Tax management

Tax management and the appropriate paying of taxes is integral in compliance. In the year, we exercised diligence and transparency in line with our group Tax Management Policy. This involved promoting open and transparent reporting based on ICMM principles and its position statement on transparency of mineral revenues, the EITI and relevant mandatory reporting of payments to governments.

We are a member of the ICMM tax working group and are committed to adopting the GRI tax reporting standards which come into play in 2020. We have complied with country-by-country reporting obligations (for more information see 2018: Corporate governance) and have developed in-country tax management policies to comply with the specific requirements in several countries.

We continue dialogue with our partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we have a stake in the Kibali joint venture with Barrick Gold about the repatriation of funds held in the country.

Indicator 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Payments to Government ($ million)
Dividends paid to the government6.
Taxation paid45.129.470.515.826.7
Withholding tax (STC, royalties, etc.)19.332.934.136.035.9
Other indirect taxes and duties2.
Employee taxes and other contributions13.115.922.818.521.3
Property tax0.
Taxation paid40.336.027.541.32.2
Witholding tax (STC, royalties, etc.)21.118.418.616.116.1
Employee taxes and other contributions33.428.127.926.724.3
Taxation paid34.436.045.362.829.0
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)11.611.414.411.49.7
Other indirect taxes and duties7.
Employee taxes and other contributions42.542.048.340.537.7
Property tax2.
Taxation paid0.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Other indirect taxes and duties0.
Employee taxes and other contributions4.
Property tax0.
Taxation paid12.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)23.412.
Other indirect taxes and duties12.
Employee taxes and other contributions9.
Property tax0.
Dividends paid to the government0.
Taxation paid45.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Other indirect taxes and duties4.
Employee taxes and other contributions14.711.09.39.713.1
Property tax0.
Dividends paid to the government2.
Taxation paid2.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Other indirect taxes and duties2.41.720.01.51.3
Employee taxes and other contributions10.911.
Dividends paid to the government0.
Taxation paid2.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Other indirect taxes and duties2.
Employee taxes and other contributions6.
Property tax0.
South Africa79.591.3118.1106.3104.6
Taxation paid0.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Employee taxes and other contributions73.483.0105.092.988.7
Property tax1.
Tanzania190.0168.1141.0133.3 134.6
Taxation paid82.656.451.154.4 57.7
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)77.981.847.744.0 51.0
Other indirect taxes and duties3.45.015.312.21.9
Employee taxes and other contributions23.
Taxation paid0.
Withholding tax (STC,royalties, etc.)
Employee taxes and other contributions4.
Property tax0.
Other (production mine tax)
Other (severance tax)
Total value of political contributions ($ million)
Financial assistance from government ($ million)
Cerro Vanguadia0.
Sunrise Dam (diesel fuel rebate)
Tropicana (diesel fuel rebate)17.815.615.915.60.0
South Africa1.
Skills development levy credits0.
Mining qualification association discretionery grant1.
AngloGold Ashanti Health
State-aided drugs0.
Operations assessed for risk related to corruption (%)77100100--
Number of confirmed incidents in which employees were dismissed or disciplined for corruption11072
Significant risk related to corruption identified through risk assessment 13 out of 14 business units were assessed for risks related to bribery and corruption in 2019, including through the use of on-site assessment as part of our combined assurance audit program. As with any multi-national extractives organization that operates in high-risk jurisdictions, risks were identified related to our suppliers, agents & intermediaries, interactions with government officials, procurement generally, conflicts of interest, giving and receiving gifts, etc. Group Compliance has specific measures to assess, manage, and mitigate each of these risks, with a variety of policies, procedures, trainings, messaging, communications etc. as part of a holistic best practice anti-corruption programme.

Communication and training on anti-corruption policies and proceduresIn 2019, AngloGold Ashanti updated its Whistleblowing Policy. This policy was communicated globally to all governance body members. In 2018, AngloGold Ashanti rolled out online anti-corruption training to all employees with computer access. This training is also assigned to newly hired employees and governance body members on an ongoing basis. All governance body members were required to complete this training. Over 9000 employees/governance body members completed the training (which included rigorous assessments). In addition, all employees without online access receive annual DVD training (without local-language facilitators, as needed). As well, utilizing a risk-based approach, “live” in-person training is also provided, covering not just bribery and corruption but related issues such as conflicts of interest, receiving gifts, interacting with government officials, and procedures for hiring agents and intermediaries. These trainings and communications are in addition to our posters, corporate email communications, regular compliance newsletters, and other newsletter articles, compliance intranet portal communications, as well as SMS communications in certain jurisdictions.
Confirmed incidents of corruption and action taken410--
Through our third-party whistleblowing hotline, AngloGold Ashanti employees and contractors have reported allegations of corruption in the various regions where we operate. In 2019 there were 4 cases of corruption reported in which one employee had their employment contract terminated following an investigation of corruption allegations. The matter was reported to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau in Tanzania.
Number of contracts with business partners that were terminated due to violations related to corruption1824--
Report public legal cases of corruption brought against the organization or its employees0----
Monetary value of significant fines00---
AngloGold Ashanti defines a significant fine as one that exceeds USD 100,000. There were no fines received in 2019.
Total number of non monetary sanctions000--

Prioritised SDGs

  • 8.2. Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.

  • 8.3. Promote development-orientated policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage formalisation and growth of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.

  • 9.2. Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries.

  • 17.1. Strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection.

  • 17.17. Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.