Sep 16, 2009
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AngloGold CEO eyes acquisitions, with caution

Sep 16, 2009

DENVER (Reuters) - The chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti said on Tuesday 15 September that the world's No. 3 and Africa's top gold producer is cautious but open for acquisitions in the wake of gold prices rise north of $1,000 an ounce.

"On M&A, we still look for value," CEO Mark Cutifani told Reuters in an interview at the sidelines of the Denver Gold Forum.

"With the increase in gold price, some of them (assets) are looking very attractive, but you have to be careful because in our industry, sometimes prices go up and down, but we think the underlying fundamentals for gold are very strong," he said.

AngloGold is planning to invest $250 million in Colombia during the 2009-2011 period, $200 million of which will go into its La Colosa project, or "The Colossus," where the deposits were discovered in 2006.

"It's our top internal exploration prospect," Cutifani said, referring to the South American country.

Cutifani said that the Colombian government had done a fantastic job to remarkably improve the security situation. In the last several years, many gold producers have avoided foraying into Colombia because of crimes and safety concerns.

In July, African miner Randgold Resources Ltd and AngloGold teamed up to make a bid worth $488 million for Moto Goldmines, which owns a project in the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also in July, Anglogold, which has about 20 operations in four continents, said safety stoppages and mill repairs had forced it to lower its full-year guidance to between 4.7 million and 4.8 million ounces from its original target of 4.9 million to 5 million ounces.

In 2008, AngloGold produced 4.98 million ounces of gold.

In terms of costs, Cutifani said that the the company's long-term average stayed at about $450 an ounce, but a stronger South African rand against the U.S. dollar was hurting cost structure.

In July, AngloGold said that it planned to slash its hedge book by 800,000 ounces a year, and to wind up all its forward sales by 2014.

Cutifani said on Tuesday 15 September that the company has reduced its total hedge book by about 70 percent. By the end of 2009, the remaining hedge commitments will be around 4.1 million ounces.

He said that the hedges were bought back at an equivalent price of about $800 an ounce on average, sharply below the current trading price of gold at about $1,006 an ounce as of Tuesday 15 September.

By Frank Tang

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