Africa’s top bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti Ltd said on Monday that suitors have expressed interest in buying or partnering in its idled Obuasi mine in Ghana, where a company manager was killed this month during a riot by illegal miners.
“There is quite a lot of interest, even now, in terms of the Obuasi assets, even in the form of a joint venture,” AngloGold Chief Executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, known as Venkat, told journalists after the company released its 2015 results.
Asked if anyone had approached AngloGold about buying Obuasi outright, Venkat said: “At various points in time, but it has not progressed to a point of concluding a sale.”
Johannesburg-based AngloGold said earlier in February that it would not look for a new joint venture partner for the mine in Ghana until it had an investment agreement with the government.
Randgold Resources in December pulled out of a joint venture with AngloGold to redevelop Obuasi, a decision that could spell closure for one of Ghana’s most important mines.
Obuasi has since been hit by unrest and AngloGold’s head of corporate affairs was killed there in early February in a car accident as he and other employees were fleeing a riot involving illegal miners.
AngloGold said on Monday it swung into profit in 2015 as it benefited from lower oil prices and weaker currencies in the countries from which it exports gold. Adjusted headline earnings, which exclude certain one-off items, were $49 million versus a loss the previous year of $1 million.
“The results for the fourth quarter and full year 2015 show the combination of a strong ongoing focus on cost and capital discipline, as well as the operational leverage the company has to weaker currencies and lower oil prices,” AngloGold said.
It said government-mandated safety stoppages in South Africa, which accounts for 25 percent of group production, cost the company 112,000 ounces in lost output.
AngloGold produced 3.947 million ounces in total last year, down 11 percent from 2014 due to the safety-related disruptions in South Africa and the idling of Obuasi.