AngloGold says 2023 production to be hit by Brazil plant halt

AngloGold Ashanti (JSE: ANG) (NYSE: AU) (ASX: AGG) expects lower gold production this year after choosing to halt gold processing at the Queiroz plant in Brazil, which services the Cuiabá Mine Complex in Minas Gerais state, to improve a tailings facility.

The South African gold producer has also stopped adding waste to its Calcinados mine waste dam, which is part of its Cuiabá gold operation.

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It said the measures aim to bring the tailings storage facility in line with Canadian safety standards, which are considered best practice in the industry.

As a result, AngloGold expects the Cuiabá mine to produce 180,000 ounces this year, down 25% from 2022. The company forecasts it will churn out this year between 2.45 million ounces and 2.6 million gold ounces, compared to last year’s production of 2.7 million ounces.

Chief executive officer Alberto Calderón said on a conference call to discuss 2022 results that engineering studies would determine when the tailings facility would be completed. 

Calderón noted the Calcinados dam was safe, stable, and compliant with Brazilian regulations. He also said the company was exploring options to sell the gold concentrate produced at the Cuiaba mine.

Brazilian authorities and mining companies have improved safety requirements after two major tailings dam collapses — in 2015 and 2019 — which caused hundreds of deaths and environmental damage.

Last month, AngloGold confirmed to MINING.COM it was considering strategic alternatives for its Córrego do Sítio mining complex, which included its potential sale.  

The gold operation, run by subsidiary AGA Mineração, consists of one open pit mine and one underground mine, which have been in production since 1989.

The same unit operates the nearby Cuiabá complex, made up of Cuiabá and Lamego underground mines and the Cuiabá and Queiroz plants.

Together, the two mining complexes account for 15% of AngloGold’s total production.

(With files from Reuters)

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