Anglo American Platinum to close four mining shafts hit by SA strikes


Anglo American employees

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said it will halt operations at four mining shafts in Rustenburg, South Africa, and cut 14,000 jobs in a bid to return to profitability after being hit by a series of strikes.

Khuseleka 1 and 2 and Khomanani 1 and 2 shafts will be placed on long-term care and maintenance and production will be cut by 400,000oz a year to generate 2.1-2.3 million oz annually.

In 2012, Amplats' operations were badly hit by illegal strikes which led to a revenue loss estimated at $80m and the sacking of 12,000 workers who downed tools in a protest over wages.

Amplats will now reconfigure its Rustenburg operations into three mines and divest them at a later date to maximise value under a different ownership, the company said in a statement.

The company also seeks to reduce previously allotted capital expansion expenditure by approximately 25% to ZAR100bn ($11.4bn) in the next ten years to focus on low-cost, high-margin projects.

Anglo American CEO Chris Griffith noted that the platinum business has a positive outlook but the current situation has forced the company to implement actions that will restore profitability.

"We must evolve to align the business with our expectations of the platinum market's long-term dynamics and address the structural changes that have eroded profitability over time.

"We have reviewed our business across the entire value chain, building upon the steps taken to improve operational performance in recent years, and will be consulting extensively with our stakeholders in relation to our proposed changes," Griffith said.

The company has promised to create 14,000 new jobs "to balance the number of jobs that may be affected by the restructuring."


Image: Anglo American may cut nearly 14,000 jobs at its South African mines. Photo: Anglo American Plc.