AngloGold Ashanti in talks to sell Kopanang Mine | Fin24
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AngloGold Ashanti in talks to sell Kopanang Mine

Sep 15 2017 15:54
Jan Cronje

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Cape Town - AngloGold Ashanti on Friday said that it may have found a buyer for its Kopanang gold mine near Klerksdorp in North West

Earlier this year the mining company said that it would cease operations at the 36-year-old gold mine, saying it had become unprofitable. 

AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] said in a statement it may have found a buyer who wanted to keep the mine operational.   

It did not name the potential buyer, nor did it give any indication of what price it would ask for the mine.  

Care and maintenance 

AngloGold Ashanti’s decision to stop operations at the mine, which produces gold (and uranium oxide as a byproduct), came after it said the mine was incurring "heavy, and ultimately unsustainable, losses".

In a June statement,the  third-largest gold mining company in the world said the cost of producing an ounce of gold at Kopanang had risen to $2 399 in the first quarter of 2017 at the mine. This was near twice the then-gold price of  $1 216/oz. 

It said at the time that ceasing production at Kopanang and the Savuka section of its TauTona mine was necessary to “protect the overall viability of its SA businesses". 

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said at the time that the AngloGold Ashanti should "rethink its position to retrench". 

"They must create opportunities for job creation rather than maximising profits at the expense of the poor mineworkers who earn poverty wages," said NUM. 

Expressions of interest 

The mining company said on Friday that, after announcing it could cease production at Kopanang, it received “unsolicited expressions of interest from a number of parties”. 

“In this regard, a memorandum of understanding has now been signed with a selected party. This could result in a sale agreement being concluded with the selected party. Organised labour will be consulted as part of the potential sale,” it said. 

While it is keeping mum on who the potential buyer is, AngloGold Ashanti said that if the sale were concluded, the mine would continue operating. 

It added that it would pay benefits to the workers at the mine whether the sale went ahead or not.

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