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AngloGold Ashanti to boost Aust projects

Reported by AAP
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Super-rich getting richerThe world's super-rich could actually be wealthier than anyone first thought.

AngloGold Ashanti has budgeted more than $US800 million for its Australian projects in the next two to three years and says the gold price could eclipse $US2,200 an ounce.

Chief executive Mark Cutifani said the budget was for the South African miner's existing Sunrise Dam mine and new Tropicana mine development, both in Western Australia, as well as planned exploration and new projects.

Mr Cutifani said construction of Tropicana was progressing on budget.

It was on track to be commissioned in October next year, with first production to follow in the December quarter.

"We're very pleased with the progress so far in a tough environment," he told journalists in Perth on Tuesday.

Mr Cutifani said Sunrise Dam, which began production in 2003, still had strong exploration potential.

The company is focusing on the underground part of the mine due to the depletion of the open pit.

"With the Vogue ore body that we've identified below the existing Sunrise Dam, we're hoping that's another 10 to 20 years (mine) life," he said.

That compared to three years ago, when the mine had a remaining life of only five years.

Mr Cutifani said gold prices should average between $US1,700 and $US1,800 per ounce this year amid strong demand from China and India.

It could peak "well over $US2,200" an ounce in coming years after peaking at about $US1,930 per ounce in 2011, he said.

"But it's going to move around a fair bit as news flow from Europe, the US and other countries continues," Mr Cutifani said.

Meanwhile, AngloGold's operations in Mali were continuing after the recent military coup there, he said.

The operations, which represented less than four per cent of the company's total global production, were fortunately far away from the centre of the trouble, he said.

"There have been no problems so far and we hope it stays that way," Mr Cutifani said.

"We are receiving fuel and other materials so operations should continue."

Mr Cutifani also said Australia needed to "stop the class warfare" surrounding the mining tax.

The Johannesburg-based company was less worried about the wave of nationalism currently sweeping Africa than it was about the changing environment for miners operating in Australia.

His main concerns were the federal government's new mining and carbon taxes, plans to cut the diesel rebate for miners in the May budget, and the potential for the WA government to lift gold royalties.

In Ghana, where the company has several mines, the government will later this year increase its mining tax from 25 per cent to between 30 and 35 per cent.

AngloGold had a "stability agreement" with governments throughout Africa, which would protect it from some if not all of the impact of Ghana's tax increase.

In Australia, the mining tax debate had degenerated and was embarrassing, Mr Cutifani said.

"Individuals are pot-shotting each other and we've missed the point.

"We've got to ... stop the class warfare-type conversations and turn the conversations into constructive dialogue about the future of the country and the industry."

Both politicians and industry leaders had handled the debate poorly, he said.

03/09/2014 02:49Sydney, Australia. 3 September,2014
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