AngloGold CEO: Gold could top $2,000/oz. this year

The CEO of AngloGold says that gold prices could top $2,000/oz at some point this year. His reasoning behind this includes robust demand from China, strong demand from India and a tropicana mine in Australia on track for Q4 2013 start. He expects the overall average in 2012 to be somewhere between $1,700 and $1,800/oz.

By Stephen Bell
March 27, 2012, 1:19 a.m. EDT
Market Watch

-- Expects robust demand from China's growing middle class

-- Indian gold demand strong, but has weakened recently

-- Tropicana mine in Australia on track for Q4 2013 start

(Adds CEO comments on China in fourth-fifth paragraphs, Indian gold demand in sixth paragraph, details of Australian project in eighth paragraph, additional detail on Mali)

PERTH -(MarketWatch)- AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. AU -0.80% Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said Tuesday the price of gold could exceed US$2,000 a troy ounce this year as demand remains robust in fast-growing economies like India and China.

Cutifani expected the gold price, which settled Monday at US$1685.60 an ounce, to average between US$1,700 and US$1,800/oz in 2012.

"We could see it peak at well over US$2,000 in my view, but it is going to move around a fair bit, I think, as news flow from Europe, the U.S. and other countries continues," he said.

Prices remain supported by strong buying in China.

"With the increasing middle class in China, many Chinese are choosing gold as a way to store wealth, so I don't think that will change," he said.

Demand for gold jewellery in India remains "relatively strong", though it has weakened slightly recently due to talk of higher taxes on gold imports, he said.

The South Africa-based miner plans to spend around US$800 million in Australia over the next 2-3 years on new projects and exploration, he said.

The Tropicana mine development in Western Australia state is on track to meet its forecast start-up date of the fourth quarter of 2013, he added.

Cutifani said last week's military coup in the West African country of Mali, which accounts for around 4% of the company's gold production, hasn't affected operations there, which are still running as normal.

"We've had no disruptions," he said. "We are receiving fuel and other materials so operations should continue - we don't expect that to change and, as I understand it, other mining companies are in the same position."

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