Johannesburg - Safety stoppages cost top gold producer AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG]
76 000 ounces of lost production in the first three months of 2012, more than for the whole of last year,its trading statement revealed on Tuesday.
The lost production in the three months to end-March is worth $125m at current spot prices and exceeded the 73 000 oz of output lost in 2011.
A safety drive across the gold and platinum industries in South Africa has cut output and led to an outcry from the industry, which has warned that halts to operations unconnected to fatalities make the working environment more risky.
AngloGold Ashanti chief executive Mark Cutifani said in February: “The concern we have in a deep underground gold mine (is that) when you stand an operation for five days, you are creating new safety hazards that we believe in certain cases are well in excess of the hazard that you are trying to correct.”
Africa’s largest gold producer, which gets 40% of its global output from South Africa, said first-quarter 2012 gold production was around 980 000 oz, down from fourth-quarter production of 1.114 million oz.
It warned that the lower production was “likely to have a consequential impact” on cash costs, which were at $762/oz in the three months to end-December 2011.
Spot gold was $1 645.00/oz in early afternoon trade on Tuesday.
AngloGold’s share price was down 1%, underperforming a slight gain on Johannesburg’s benchmark index.