New AngloGold CEO sees life in major SA mine

Kelvin Dushnisky
Kelvin Dushnisky

There is still life in AngloGold Ashanti’s last major South African gold mine, Mponeng, according to the gold mining company’s new CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky.

He joined AngloGold, the world’s third-largest gold mining company by production, in September last year from Barrick Gold, the headquarters of which are in Toronto, Canada.

Mponeng, in Carletonville, Gauteng, is the world’s deepest gold mine; mining takes place at about 4km below the surface.

Dushnisky told the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town this week that Mponeng was set to sustain output for the next eight years, before a possible extension of the mine’s life by a further 20 years – at extra capital cost – could be embarked on.

He said at that time a decision would be made about whether to invest further in AngloGold’s South African assets or invest in the rest of the group’s portfolio.

In December Bloomberg reported that AngloGold was considering listing shares in either London or Toronto in a move that could see the company hive off its remaining South African operations.

At present AngloGold is listed in Johannesburg and has depository receipts that trade in New York.

When asked if AngloGold would move its headquarters to London, Dushnisky said, jokingly, that he had just started in a new headquarters in Johannesburg. He did not comment further.

AngloGold Ashanti’s total annual production of gold in South Africa is about 13%.

Aside from Mponeng, AngloGold owns two surface operations comprising the Mine Waste Solutions’ tailings dump retreatment business and the rock dump reclamation and processing business.

Also at the indaba this week was Mark Bristow, a South African who is now CEO of Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company.

In January Bristow’s company Randgold Resources and Barrick Gold merged.

Bristow said during a breakfast meeting with media at the indaba that a key barrier to a merger deal was the “culture” of the organisations involved.

“To clean up culture requires a bit of brute force,” he said.

Serious negotiations between Randgold and Barrick started in July last year; initial talks startedin 2015.

Bristow said he wouldn’t have concluded the merger with Barrick unless the team from both companies bought into the idea.

“For a bunch of Canadians, Randgold was a terrifying experience. For my people, a big corporate behemoth was equally terrifying. So we had a lot of work to do,” he said.

In another major development in world gold mining, Newmont Mining in Colorado, US, agreed to buy Canadian gold mining company Goldcorp.

The merger between Newmont and Goldcorp was driven largely by Goldcorp, which was in “bad shape”, Bristow said, adding that he hoped there would be further mergers and acquisitions in global gold mining.

The world gold mining sector had too many assets supervised by too many managers, which was “inefficient”, he said.

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