South Africa: Anglogold Ashanti Puts a for Sale Sign On the World's Deepest Mine

(file photo)

Africa's top gold producer, AngloGold Ashanti, is putting the last of its South African assets up for sale. Anglo American exited from gold years ago and looks like it is here to stay as it makes money from platinum, iron ore and diamonds. But the last of the bullion assets linked to its name is bound to provoke some feelings of nostalgia. Yet nothing is set in stone and not many companies have the technical ability to run Mponeng, the world's deepest mine, which is included in the sale.

Wanted: Buyer for the world's deepest mine. The purchaser, with some additional investment, could extend the asset beyond its current eight-year timeframe. But extracting gold 4km below the planet's surface will require a steep geological and engineering learning curve. And on the surface, there's South Africa's potentially explosive labour, social and political environment. AngloGold Ashanti, the seller, may just close it down if it can't find a buyer.

AngloGold made the announcement on Thursday alongside a routine quarterly operations update. It came as no surprise: The company has recently sold off other South African assets as it focuses on a range of projects in places such as Guinea, Colombia and Ghana....

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