Impala Platinum may cut more jobs to curb losses at ageing shafts

10 July 2018 (Last Updated July 10th, 2018 12:37)

South Africa-based Impala Platinum may axe more jobs as it looks at curbing losses at ageing shafts and offset dropping prices for the metal.

Impala Platinum may cut more jobs to curb losses at ageing shafts
Platinum crystals. Credit: Periodictableru.

South Africa-based Impala Platinum may axe more jobs as it looks at curbing losses at ageing shafts and offset dropping prices for the metal.

According to the world’s leading platinum producer, only three out of the ten shafts at its Rustenburg mining complex are making profits as of March. Impala Platinum has already axed 2,500 jobs this year.

However, with prices witnessing a further 9% decrease and hitting a nine-year low, the situation has reportedly become worse.

Spokesman Johan Theron was quoted by Bloombergquint.com as saying that Impala will announce the results of a strategic review of Rustenburg in September.

“Impala has begun Section 189, a labour process to be completed prior to dismissing workers for operational reasons.”

Due to the challenges, the miner cannot rule out the possibility of more job cuts, Theron added.

The company currently employs 31,000 people at its Rustenburg complex.

As per the strategic review announced last year, the company in March stated that it would look at measures to ‘refocus or close unprofitable areas’.

Impala is one of the several companies facing an uncertain future, as approximately 50% of the industry’s production is estimated to be unprofitable.  Impala competitor Lonmin is axing 12,600 jobs over three years and its future depends on the quick approval of a merger with Sibanye Gold.

Anglo American Platinum is reportedly in a better position than its rivals after it divested high-cost assets.

After hitting a peak in 2011, platinum prices have dropped by more than 50% since then. Demand for this metal, which is used to control pollution from diesel cars, has become tepid given the weak sales of the vehicles in Europe.

Impala has begun Section 189, a labour process to be completed prior to dismissing workers for operational reasons.

In January, Impala closed a shaft at its Rustenburg mining complex and expects to close three more once mined out.