Uncertainty looms in South Africa’s Rustenburg mines, following a nine week worker strike that has incurred about $1bn of losses in costs and damages.
In late January, workers also walked out of platinum mines in South Africa in a demand for higher pay.
Attempts made by the government to settle the dispute between the Association of Mineworkers Construction Union (AMCU) and mine management also failed.
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, said its Rustenburg mines may not make a profit this year and that the wage demand by the AMCU is unaffordable.
Amplats board has already been considering at what point it will close down mines in that area, reports BDlive.
Amplats CEO Chris Griffith told The Star Online that operations at Rustenburg account for about 20% of group production and is expected to be the first area hit by redundancies.
The company currently employs 100,000 staff worldwide and said it has previously cut 7,500 jobs in the Rustenburg area in a bid to restore those mines to profit, but the strike led to more losses for the company.
In 2012, the company initially planned to slash 14,000 jobs, but scaled back the cuts to 6,000 under a revised business proposal, following pressure from the government and unions.