AngloGold Ashanti continually works to improve portfolio quality by maintaining operations, delivering on mine plans and progressing projects. Our aim is for a portfolio characterised by long-life, high-grade, low-cost assets.
Key metrics and related targets 2021
|Production and portfolio|
|Metrics||Targets, aims and performance|
(12.5% of DSP performance award)
|Related remuneration targets:||Performance:|
|Production||Annual production of between 2.7Moz and 2.9Moz||
|Other metrics monitored:
||Overall portfolio aims are:
While production declined year-on year, output improved over the course of the year, increasing by 6% in the second half of the year compared to the first half (excluding Obuasi). This improvement was based on the greater volumes processed and an improvement in underground grades mined.
Operating challenges during the year included lower grades and rising costs, related mostly to a shortage of skills and higher inflation, due in large part to COVID-19. While there are encouraging signs in the evolution of the pandemic, it impacted production by around 47,000 ounces, and the allin sustaining cost by an estimated $34/oz in 2021.
Lower realised grades at certain operations came amidst the ongoing re-investment programme currently underway across the portfolio, and the temporary suspension of underground mining operations at Obuasi. This reinvestment, evident in elevated capital expenditure levels, is aimed at improving orebody flexibility and increasing conversion of Mineral Resource to Ore Reserve. This capital investment is funding increased waste stripping at open pit mines, higher rates of underground development, and the transition of our Brazilian TSFs to dry-stacked structures in line with new legal requirements.
Asset review and new operating model
During the course of the past year, a revised Operating Model was designed and its implementation begun. In terms of this revised model, we aim to improve organisational effectiveness, reduce waste and duplication, narrow our focus on costs and sharpen overall operational performance and project execution. In addition, there is a sharp focus on improving cash conversion.
Our Full Asset Potential Review, which started at Sunrise Dam in February 2022 and will eventually take place at each site, is aimed at assessing the full potential of each asset in our portfolio. This is a well understood process that has had significant success across the industry, and which has not been used at our sites. We will bring in a team of specialists, led by Chief Technology Officer, Marcelo Godoy, who will provide the necessary level of expertise to look at all key strategic levers for every operation. The process will involve a detailed analysis of each asset, including mine design and key operating parameters, to understand the reasons for the gap between current and best possible performance
The full assessment of each site will take approximately three months and will identify key areas of performance improvement to be implemented over the ensuing 18 to 24 months. This process – which will ultimately be ‘owned’ by each site leadership team – will be tracked until the full value of initiatives has been realised.
At Obuasi, underground operations were suspended in May 2021 following a geotechnical event and fatality. A detailed review into the incident and its causes was followed by a thorough external review of future mining fronts covering the mine design, schedule and ground management plan. Underground mining activities remained suspended until mid-October 2021 when stoping activities restarted.
Since then, the restart plan, and in particular tonnage delivered to the mill, have tracked to schedule with the processing plant achieving 2,000 tonnes per day in January. The safe ramp-up to the full mining rate of 4,000 tonnes per day is expected by the end of June 2022.
A comprehensive series of protocols have been introduced to supplement existing operating procedures at Obuasi and they are expected to add about $10 to $20 per tonne to the mine’s operating costs, or about $50/oz. External consultants will continue their review of future mining areas. Areas of assessment completed include Sansu, Block 8 lower and the decline.
In terms of infrastructure, the work needed to support the ramp up to 4,000tpd is now complete (Phase 2). Phase 3 – which relates principally to extended capital expenditure to refurbish existing infrastructure around the KMS shaft and runs to end 2023 – is also proceeding according to schedule. This includes upgrading the KMS shaft and materials handling system, a new ventilation shaft, underground pump stations and refurbishment of the BSVS sub-shaft.
For 2022, we forecast production of between 240,000oz and 260,000oz at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,250/oz to $1,350/oz. Annualised production by year end 2022 is forecast at 320,000oz to 350,000oz. We expect annual production to remain at around that level in 2023 until Phase 3 is completed late that year, which will allow a step-up to 5,000 tonnes per day.
In Colombia, our proposed Quebradona gold and copper project will take longer to develop than previously anticipated following a decision by the Colombian environment agency, ANLA, to archive our environmental licence application. A thorough review and analysis of the items and further information identified as part of ANLA’s archiving decision is underway. The aim is to prepare, submit and process a new environmental licence request for Quebradona. This process will result in a delay in the project
At Gramalote, the feasibility study work completed in early 2021 has illustrated the potential to improve the economics of the project by revisiting and further optimising the original project design included in the existing mining permit. The joint operation partners believe that greater value could be created through additional drilling of the Inferred portions of the Mineral Resource area, both within and adjacent to the designed pit. A Mineral Resource update is expected in early 2022. The final feasibility study results for the project are currently expected by around August 2022.
The reinvestment programmes underway at our bigger assets – Geita, Tropicana and Iduapriem – have progressed well, and remain on schedule.