ANGLOGOLD Ashanti's gold production rose strongly in the second quarter after a good performance at its mines in Africa and the Americas, with output and costs beating the company's forecasts earlier this year.

But the company said yesterday its adjusted headline earnings will show a sharp drop as a result of a weaker gold price.

In the quarter to end-June, the company produced 1,073-million ounces of gold, which is 9% higher than the first quarter.

The cost of production at between $800/oz and $805/oz is well below the $840/oz to $845/oz range it forecast for the quarter.

AngloGold, which is one of the world's top five gold producers, had expected 1,04-million output ounces for the June quarter. The company reports its results on August 6.

Gold output from SA rose 18% compared to a difficult first quarter, when the effects of a slow start after the year-end holiday, public holidays and safety stoppages curtailed production.

Adjusted headline earnings for the period will range between $240m and $255m, compared to $429m in the March quarter.

"When compared with the first quarter of 2012, exploration and other expenditures were higher, though in line with annual guidance provided in February of this year," the company said.

AngloGold, which is developing projects in Africa, Australia and South America, has replaced a four-year $1bn unsecured revolving credit facility that matures in April 2014 with a new five-year $1bn revolving credit facility maturing in July 2017.

"The new revolving credit facility was significantly oversubscribed," it said yesterday.

"The new facility improves the overall tenor and maturity profile of the group's existing debt facilities and further strengthens the company's balance sheet," the miner said.