Sibanye plans to retrench 330 miners
Company seeks to cut costs
SIBANYE Gold, which has been on a spending spree, yesterday said it planned to retrench about 330 workers at its newly acquired platinum mines as the company seeks to eliminate duplication roles and cut about R800 million in costs at the affected mines.
Sibanye’s share price closed at R28.26, up 0.28%.
The company said it had notified its workers of the impending retrenchments and would begin consultations with affected parties. However, unions said it must expect fierce resistance to its bid to lay off hundreds of workers.
The section 189 notice comes a day after Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane launched a scathing attack on Sibanye and AngloGold Ashanti, accusing them of refusing to comply with the country’s mining laws.
James Wellsted, a spokesperson for Sibanye, said the company’s actions fell within the ambit of a ruling handed down by the Competition Tribunal last year when it paved the way for the company to acquire Aquarius Platinum and Amplats’ Rustenburg operations.
“We have initiated the section 189 in respect of the consolidation of the Rustenburg and Kroondal assets into Sibanye Platinum divisions and the elimination of duplicate structures and roles,” he said.
The company said it expected the consultation process to last two months and had highlighted R800m in costs and operational synergies realised between the Kroondal and Rustenburg operation to ensure sustainability.
Livhuwani Mammburu, a spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, said the reasons advanced by Sibanye were frivolous and he expected the Department of Mineral Resources to intervene to save jobs.
“Sibanye’s chief executive is notorious for retrenching workers. Sibanye must remember that section 52 of the MPRDA Act says if 10 percent or more of workers are retrenched at any operation, the DMR must intervene; we expect the regulator to facilitate this process henceforth,” Mammburu said.
The company, which was created in 2013 out of former Gold Fields assets, had made significant acquisitions in recent times.
In 2015 it bought Aquarius Platinum for R3.9 billion and last year the firm acquired Amplats’ Rustenburg mines for R4.4bn.
The company last month said it would pay R30bn for New Yorklisted Stillwater Mining.
Rene Hochreiter, a mining analyst at NOAH Capital Markets, said Sibanye was bound to explore the retrenchments option to streamline its structure after the acquisitions it made.
“The workers who are going to be affected are those who find themselves doing duplication jobs where Sibanye already had structures in place,” she said.
Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said Sibanye must expect resistance to its retrenchment plans.
“The law is very clear, a company cannot change conditions of employment within a year of acquiring another business, and the tribunal and Sibanye are not doing justice to the workers.”
LONG WALK: Mineworkers make their way down a tunnel at Sibanye Gold’s Ya Rona shaft, level 33, in Carletonville.