Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti says it will spend $13m exploring gold deposits in the ocean floor over the next 18 months.

The company entered into a joint venture agreement with De Beers for ocean exploration work and mining of marine deposits on the continental shelf.

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani said De Beers had the right technology and understanding of where potential gold deposits would be situated, based on the work already carried out.

“We are prepared to explore places where others are still a bit cautious,” Cutifani said.

Cutifani said the company is aiming to have at least one or two operations functioning, yielding 150,000oz to 300,000oz in the next five to ten years.

Cutifani said AngloGold could withdraw from the operation if no potential was found.

“However, we are pretty optimistic and think that about $40m will be spent over the next three years,” Cutifani said.