Miners head for extinction
CEO announces more possible mine closures that will affect several thousand workers as platinum industry runs at a loss
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,