South Africa-based Impala Platinum has commenced voluntary job cuts at some of its platinum mining shafts in the country in an effort to save expenses as the metal’s price declines, reported Reuters.

The platinum miner initiated the job cuts process last month, at its head office.

Impala Platinum spokesperson Johan Theron told Reuters that the exit packages process has now been extended to the company’s Rustenburg mining complex in the North West province.

Theron said: “We are obviously doing everything to reduce costs. Labour is a big cost component so you always start with labour by offering voluntary separation packages.”

The long-term demand for metals that are crucial in catalysts that control vehicle emissions could face a threat from the increasing use of battery electric vehicles.

Theron said that the company’s mines in Rustenburg are “scrapping by for now”. The company could take further action in case the prices remain low.

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Theron added: “The shafts are not making money, but they are not losing money either, they are just getting by.”

Furthermore, Impala is considering postponing investment plans at some of its expansion projects at the Zimplats and Mimosa units in Zimbabwe, as well as the Two Rivers and Marula mines in South Africa.

“We are in the process of resetting the organisation for a lower price environment. If all the initiatives don’t take you to a point where you can survive, you have to do more,” Theron added.

Earlier this year, Impala Platinum increased its stake to 91% in Royal Bafokeng Platinum.