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AngloGold CEO sees challenging market to sell gold mining assets

The market is becoming crowded as rivals, like Barrick Gold, dispose of smaller assets.

AngloGold Ashanti said it has received several bids for gold mining assets in Argentina, Mali and South Africa, but acknowledged that it’s been “challenging” to sell in the current market.

Discussions are underway with potential buyers, though there’s no timeline for a deal, said Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Dushnisky. The process to sell its assets in South Africa, including Mponeng, the world’s deepest mine, started last month, he said.

Read: AngloGold Ashanti posts 21% profit jump helped by Kibali JV

AngloGold’s plan to shrink and sell off unwanted mines faces a crowded market as rivals Newmont Goldcorp Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. dispose of smaller assets.

“It’s a more challenging market in terms of divestment, as opposed to years ago, because of speculation on potential assets coming into the market,” Dushnisky said. “But I am happy to say that for all three processes, we have multiple interested parties in the room.”

The CEO wants to focus AngloGold’s strategy on longer-life and lower-cost operations. The asset sales will help the company reduce debt, raise spending at Australian and Guinean mines and boost dividend payouts.

If the sale is delayed, the company could “chip away” at its debt from cash generated, Dushnisky said.

AngloGold said its project to restart the Obuasi mine in Ghana remains on schedule and it’s still expecting to produce the first gold later this year. Dushnisky has called Obuasi, mothballed in 2014 and previously overrun by illegal miners, “an engine for growth.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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