The third-largest gold mining company in the world, measured by production, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, on Thursday, May 9, revealed that it is reviewing the option of divesting from South Africa.
“We will be looking for companies such that we can place the assets in strong hands, in financial and technical capabilities,” said Dushnisky, without giving a timeline.
Its South African assets include Mponeng mine, the world’s deepest gold mine, and a surface rock dump processing business and a mine waste retreatment operation.
“We believe that under the right ownership, our South African assets offer a compelling long-term value proposition that may allow for an extension to Mponeng Mine’s current life,” Dushnisky said.
According to mining weekly, the company is also in talks to find buyers for its holdings in the Cerro Vanguardia mine, in Argentina, and the Sadiola mine, in Mali, where bidders are actively conducting diligence.
Mining companies in South Africa have been faced with several issues which include volatile labour relations, rising costs, regulatory disruptions and technical issues. Gold and Platinum mining companies in SA are continually shedding thousands of jobs because of the age, depth and costs of running them, as well as the relatively low prices for the metals. As at 1995, there were about 380,000 people working in SA mines but that has reduced to below 116,000.
AngloGold which employs around 6,000 people have also had a fair share of all the issues facing mining companies in SA. Last year the firm cut about 2000 jobs in order to shrink its support structure after selling and closing mines in the country.
Last year AngloGold concluded the sale of its Moab Khotsong gold mine, in the North West, and other related assets and liabilities, to gold mining company Harmony Gold. It also sold its Kopanang gold mine, in Gauteng, and other related assets and liabilities, to investment company Heaven-Sent SA Sunshine.
It is worthy to note that AngloGold Ashanti is not the first mining company to shut down or that is planning to shut down its operations in South Africa. Last year, Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum miner, also announced that it has started a three-year process to shed 12,600 jobs. Pan African Resources announced that it was shutting its Evander gold mine and cutting 1,700 jobs because of an unsustainably low rand gold price. Sibanye-Stillwater also stopped its four unprofitable Cooke gold shafts near Johannesburg, shedding more than 3,000 jobs.
The firm’s first-quarter gold output fell 9 percent to 752,000 ounces from 824,000 ounces a year earlier hit by regulatory stoppages at its Brazilian operations, an unfavourable performance at its Siguiri mine in Guinea and power disruptions and other challenges in South Africa, Reuters reported.