Anglo plans to drop the axe
Embattled mining giant Anglo American was expected to notify government of its intention to retrench local mine workers and return mining rights to the department, said Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
Zwane told City Press on Friday he expected the London-based company to join other mining companies that intended retrenching up to 32 000 workers when it filed its restructuring notice.
“In a few weeks, Anglo will give us a section 189 notice to restructure its mines. We met the CEO [Mark Cutifani] and said we will not get involved in its operations globally – but when it comes to its restructuring in South Africa, we will get involved,” said Zwane. Shamiela Letsoalo, an Anglo spokesperson, said that while a restructuring process was under way, they would not speculate when a formal restructuring notice could be issued.
Zwane said that since his appointment in September last year, the department’s deputy director-general for mineral regulation, Joel Raphela, had been mandated to intervene on behalf of government to save jobs in various mines. This after the National Union of Mineworkers last week said the task team set up by government to intervene to save mining jobs had not met since Zwane took office.
Zwane responded: “It’s a myth that we have not been engaging with the mines on these looming job cuts.” He said he or the team led by Raphela had met with the management of Harmony Gold and Impala Platinum, and had helped to save 3 000 jobs at Glencore’s Optimum Colliery. He said the department was aware of what was taking place at the mines because of engagements with management.
Zwane – who has been accused of being too close to the controversial Gupta family – vehemently denied allegations of favouritism towards the family, calling the allegations “propaganda” after he travelled to Switzerland with a delegation of the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources for negotiations on the sale of Glencore’s Optimum Colliery.
In another development, diversified mining company South32 this week announced plans to lay off 620 employees at its manganese mines.
– Xolani Mbanjwa