Sibanye-Stillwater is planning to restructure some of its loss-making platinum group metal (PGM) operations in South Africa, putting 4,095 jobs on the line.

The move has been triggered by a slump in commodity prices and rising costs of electricity, water, wages and fuel. 

The proposed restructuring will affect four shafts, of which the Simunye shaft already stopped production in Q4 2022.

Workers from this shaft who have not been assigned to other shafts are expected to be affected by the final closure.

Mining at the 4 Belt (4B) shaft, Marikana operation has been facing closure since its overhaul in 2019.

The shaft had been running for the past four years and has now reached the end of its operating life with the depletion of its extractable reserves.

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By GlobalData

Sibanye is looking to restructure the remaining two shafts, namely the Rowland shaft at the Marikana operation and the Siphumelele shaft at the Rustenburg operation, to attain sustainable production.

As per the company, operational hurdles have hindered the Rowland shaft from delivering for a long time. This shaft has recorded only 64% of its projected production year-to-date.

Since corrective measures have been unsuccessful in addressing the issue, Sibanye is proposing to reduce operations for the shaft’s long-term feasibility that could result in headcount reduction.

Last year, the Siphumelele shaft reported significant seismic activity. As a result, some production zones have been prohibited for safety.

As a substitute for the shaft’s shutdown, the company is proposing to reduce the staff strength to support the reduced production.

The miner has now started consultations with labour unions on the proposed restructuring, which could impact 3,500 employees and 595 contractors, including support services employees.

This consultation process looks to consider alternative measures to lower redundancies and ensure the long-term viability of the Rowland and Siphumelele shafts.

Sibanye-Stillwater Africa chief regional officer Richard Stewart said: “We do not underestimate the potential impact of any form of restructuring and commit to constructively engaging with affected employees through their representatives in an effort to minimise job losses.

“Unfortunately, it is imperative that we engage in this process to ensure the sustainability of our SA PGM operations and the benefits and value they bring to multiple stakeholders.”

Last month, Sibanye announced similar restructuring plans for one of its South African gold mines, which could affect nearly 2,389 employees and 581 contractors.