May 8, 2017 / 6:02 AM / a year ago

AngloGold Q1 EBITDA down 16 pct as South Africa operations underperform

JOHANNESBURG, May 8 (Reuters) - Africa’s biggest gold miner AngloGold Ashanti reported a 16 percent drop in quarterly core profit on Monday hit by a weak showing at its South African operations.

AngloGold said adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or core profit, came at $314 million in the quarter to end-March and compared with $378 million the same year-ago period.

“South Africa had a difficult production quarter, as an added focus on a safe start-up contributed to an unusually slow ramp-up after the year-end break,” AngloGold said in a statement.

AngloGold is in talks with unions about cutting about 800 jobs in South Africa, whose vast resources are accompanied by the risk of volatile labour relations, rising costs, regulatory disruptions and dizzying shaft depths.

“We are reviewing our South African operations to restore their margin and ensure they recover from a difficult start to the year,” said chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan without specifying details.

The review come about two years after AngloGold, which operates in eight other countries that include Brazil and Ghana, shelved plans to separate its local mines by spinning off its international assets into a new London-listed entity that it had hoped would have attracted a higher investor rating. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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