JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE- and NYSE-listed Sibanye may cut as many as 7 400 jobs as it moves to restructure its Beatrix West and Cooke gold operations.
The company on Thursday announced that it will enter into consultation with relevant stakeholders in terms of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act regarding the restructuring of these operations.
This comes after numerous unsuccessful attempts to contain ongoing losses at these operations.
The Cooke operations were also negatively affected by a three-week wildcat strike by employees in June in protest over Sibanye's efforts to bring an end to illegal mining.
“The decision to commence with this restructuring process has not been taken lightly. The long-term sustainability of the group as a whole is our primary focus and is necessary if we are to continue to deliver superior value to all of our stakeholders.
“The losses experienced at the Beatrix West and Cooke operations threaten the future of other group operations and the employment of many other South Africans. We are, however, aware of the difficult socioeconomic environment in South Africa, and will engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to minimise job losses, while ensuring that additional jobs are not placed at risk in future,” commented Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman.
The company employs some 58 000 permanent employees in South Africa.
Sibanye also owns the Driefontein and Kloof gold mine, as well as various platinum mines in South Africa and one platinum group metals operation in the US.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it was shocked by Sibanye's announcement.
"The NUM strongly condemns in the strongest words possible the blackmail unleashed by mining companies led by Sibanye Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Bokoni Platinum mine in announcing these massive retrenchments. The NUM strongly condemns these irresponsible companies. The jobs bloodbath is a clear attack on the working class, communities and the poor, a direct attack on mineworkers in particular," it said.
AngloGold in June announced that it would seek to place its Savuka and Kopanang mines on care and maintenance, while evaluating the integration of its TauTona mine into the neighbouring Mponeng mine. It warned that the restructure may lead to 8 500 job losses, but stressed the need to preserve the sustainability of the company.
Atlatsa Resources and joint venture partner Anglo American Platinum have also placed the Bokoni platinum mine on care and maintenance.