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AngloGold swings back into H1 profit, Obuasi mine reboot on track

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 20 (Reuters) - AngloGold Ashanti swung back into a first-half profit on the back of higher production and lower-than-expected retrenchment costs, Africa's top gold producer said on Monday.

The firm posted headline earnings of $99 million for January-June, in line with figures it had previously flagged, compared with a headline loss for the same period last year of $89 million.

The turnaround in performance was also due to the absence of one-off, non-cash settlement costs for silicosis class action claims which hit its earnings last year.

In Ghana, AngloGold said the redevelopment of its historic Obuasi asset was on track with the issuing of environmental permits and the ratification by the Ghanaian parliament of the fiscal and regulatory agreements to reboot the mine.

"The ratification of investment agreements by Ghana's parliament in June allowed the redevelopment of the high-grade Obuasi Gold Mine to commence in earnest," the company said.

AngloGold said in February it would spend up to $500 million to mechanise its Obuasi mine in Ghana.

The company said last year Ghana's military had cleared Obuasi mine of illegal miners, who had invaded the site and numbered up to 12,000 at one, paving the way for the company to revive it.

AngloGold's outgoing Chief Executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said on a conference call that concluding the Obuasi agreements were his "most satisfying" accomplishment as he prepares to step down at the end of August.

"If that hadn't been concluded, I would have left with quite a big regret," he said.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Edmund Blair)

2018-08-20 08:24:50

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