South African mining company Impala Platinum (Implats) has started a consultation process with employee representative groups and other stakeholders as part of a restructuring initiative that is set to result in around 2,500 job cuts at its Impala Rustenburg operation.
The company noted that decision has been necessitated by severe financial pressures at the mine and is aimed at ensuring its sustainability.
Impala Platinum attributed the weak performance of the mine to low metal prices and a continued increase in production costs.
Impala Platinum CEO Nico Muller said: “The financial sustainability of Impala has deteriorated significantly over recent years.
"We have implemented ongoing cost saving and optimisation initiatives in an attempt to restore profitability and secure continued employment as far as possible.
“Unfortunately, we are now left with no further option in the prevailing operating environment, but to consider further restructuring processes that may lead to a reduction in the number of employees.”
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It is said that declining labour productivity rates over the last few years have resulted in a reduction of production levels from a historical base of about 1,000,000 platinum ounces per year, to the 680,000oz-720 000oz projected for the 2018 financial year.
The company indicated that the figure of 2,500 job cuts is only a preliminary estimate and further optimisation processes may be necessary in future.
South Africa-based AngloGold Ashanti also announced a restructuring plan in June as part of an effort to mitigate financial losses, which affected roughly 8,500 jobs.