(Kitco News) – AngloGold Ashanti boosted cash flow in the first quarter even though some production was lost because of temporary stoppages that were part of the global effort to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Monday.
The company estimated that it lost 11,000 ounces during the first quarter due to the impact of COVID-19. Still, free cash flow rose 231% year-on-year to $94 million, AngloGold Ashanti said.
“Cash flow is strong, leverage is down, and all operations are running,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, chief executive officer. “We’re making good progress on achieving our core strategic objectives – including asset sales and the redevelopment of Obuasi – and have worked hard to ensure we have the liquidity to weather potential disruptions.”
First-quarter production was put at 716,000 gold ounces, compared to 752,000 in the same period last year, the company said. All-in sustaining costs were $1,047 an ounce, compared with $1,009 in the same period last year.
Officials said earnings got a boost from higher gold prices that averaged $1,506 in the first quarter. The company reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose by jumped 54% to $473 million.
The company is continuing the ongoing redevelopment of its Obuasi Gold Mine, with ramp-up to a mining rate to 4,000 metric tons per day from 2,000 now expected to occur in the first quarter of next year. The project remains on budget, the company said. However, AngloGold Ashanti said it will no longer be selling its Cerro Vanguardia mine in Argentina after concluding it can derive more value for shareholders by developing the remaining potential in the ore body.
Due to uncertainty on how COVID-19 issues could affect future operations, AngloGold Ashanti withdrew its annual production guidance in March.