Min­ers head for ex­tinc­tion

CEO an­nounces more pos­si­ble mine clo­sures that will af­fect sev­eral thou­sand work­ers as plat­inum in­dus­try runs at a loss

CityPress - - Business - DE­WALD VAN RENS­BURG de­wald.vrens­burg@city­press.co.za

Job cuts in the min­ing in­dus­try are set to con­tinue af­ter ma­jor sec­tors al­ready shed about 64 000 work­ers over the past four years. The “right­siz­ing” and “repo­si­tion­ing” of An­glo Amer­i­can Plat­inum is con­tin­u­ing, CEO Chris Grif­fith said this week. He an­nounced more pos­si­ble mine clo­sures that would af­fect sev­eral thou­sand work­ers.

The com­pany has led the in­dus­try in job shed­ding since 2012.

Of­fi­cial govern­ment sta­tis­tics col­lected from mines show plat­inum, gold and coal mines shed­ding a col­lec­tive 63 959 jobs since 2012. Many thou­sands of those were con­tract po­si­tions.

An­glo Plat­inum this week an­nounced that it sus­tained a loss of R12.2 bil­lion last year. Most of that re­lated to im­pair­ments and the cost of re­struc­tur­ing – in­clud­ing sev­er­ance pack­ages.

Af­ter this ex­er­cise, all the com­pany’s mines were now “cash pos­i­tive”. In other words, they are hold­ing their own.

An­glo Plat­inum man­aged to re­duce its sig­nif­i­cant debt bur­den by al­most R2 bil­lion to R12.8 bil­lion by the end of last year.

With 45 520 work­ers, An­glo Plat­inum now em­ploys 14 000 less peo­ple than it did four years ago. De­spite that, it pro­duced the same amount of plat­inum, Grif­fith said this week.

Un­prof­itable mines have been closed and more pro­duc­tive, less labour-in­ten­sive ones have been ramped up.

“We don’t come to work see­ing how many peo­ple we can get rid of. We come to work see­ing how much money we can make,” Grif­fith said.

An­glo Plat­inum hoped to wrap up the sale of its rad­i­cally re­struc­tured Rusten­burg mines to Sibanye Gold this year, shift­ing over a quar­ter of its re­main­ing work­force.

Its Union mine, with more than 6 000 em­ploy­ees, is still on the chop­ping block.

An­glo Plat­inum wanted to sell it, but if all else failed,

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