US-based gold miner Newmont Mining plans to downsize its workforce by cutting up to 600 jobs at its Ghana gold mine by June this year.
The job cuts come in the wake of falling gold prices and a difficult economic period.
The downsize is part of the firm’s strategy to cut prices and ensure the continuous operation of its concessions in Ghana, which is one of the world’s largest gold exporters.
Newmont operates two mines in the West African country. Ahafo, which produced its first gold in mid 2006, and Akyem, which began commercial production in 2013.
The Ahafo and Akyem projects comprise about 20% of our Newmont’s assets worldwide.
Newmont’s external affairs director Adiki Ayitevie was quoted by Reuters as saying that the planned job cuts, mostly at Ahafo, are part of the measures to re-adjust the expenditures of the ageing milling rate.
"We are looking at 500 to 600 jobs. [Gold] prices are still volatile so the key objective is reducing labour force to align with reducing mining rate," Ayitevie said.
Last year, Newmont slashed around 240 workers as part of a cost-cutting strategy at Ahafo mine, which presently has about 1,500 employees.
Ayitevie noted that Newmont is currently negotiating packages for those who will be affected by this year’s job cuts.
"We are speaking to the union leaders and the government to seek consensus on the best way to carry out the exercise," Ayitevie added.
Global gold prices fell by 28% in 2013, however, they rose by around 4% so far this year.
Image: Ghana is Africa’s second largest gold miner after South Africa. Photo: courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Liz Noffsinger.