By Tanisha Heiberg
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – AngloGold Ashanti Ltd and its joint venture partner are looking at selling a mine in Mali after failing to reach an agreement with the west African country about an investment project, the company said on Monday.
The news came as AngloGold, Africa’s biggest gold miner by output, said it expected full-year production to reach the upper end of its guidance range, helping to push its shares as much as 9 percent higher.
Mali, Africa’s third biggest producer of gold after South Africa and Ghana, has struggled to attract investment since Islamist militants seized the desert north in 2012.
AngloGold said it had started the process of selling the Sadiola mine, a joint venture with IAMGOLD, after failing to agree the terms of an investment project with the Malian government.
The South African company and IAMGOLD had been in talks with Mali about a project to add sulphide-ore processing capability to a plant.
“While this agreement has not yet been reached, AngloGold Ashanti and IAMGOLD, who collectively own an 82 percent interest in Sadiola, have initiated a process to identify third parties that may be interested in acquiring their collective interests in Sadiola,” AngloGold said.
The company reported a 15 percent fall in production to 851,000 ounces in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from the same period a year earlier, after it sold some South African assets.
Output from retained operations was broadly flat at 851,000 ounces, as a rise from its Mponeng mine in South Africa and a fully-ramped up Kibali mine in Democratic Republic of Congo offset falls at Siguiri in Guinea and AGA Mineração in Brazil.
AngloGold said it expected full-year production to reach the upper end of its guidance of 3,325,000 to 3,450,000 ounces.
All-in sustaining costs for the retained South African operations fell 11 percent to $920 per ounce, while net debt was down 15 percent to $1.75 billion.
“The net debt was lower, they managed to bring down all-in costs so generally I think it is looking quite positive,” said Vasili Girasis, market trader at BP Bernstein.
AngloGold shares were up 6.7 percent to 150.42 rand at 1015 GMT.
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Potter)