Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater is set to restructure its gold operations in South Africa, which could put at risk more than 2,000 jobs.

The move comes as the gold operations are unable to rake in profits due to increasing costs and depleting reserves.  

Initially, the decision is expected to impact 1,959 employees and 465 contractors at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix 4 shaft and Kloof 1 plant, where the surface rock dump (SRD) mineral reserves are depleting.

As a result, Sibanye-Stillwater will start consultation with organised labour and other affected stakeholders in terms of S189A of the Labour Relations Act (S189) over the possible restructuring of its South African gold operations.

Furthermore, Sibanye-Stillwater said the proposed restructuring could potentially affect employees in associated companies, including Sibanye Gold Protection Services Limited and Sibanye Gold Academy Proprietary Limited.

Earlier, the Beatrix 4 shaft’s life was prolonged following S189 consultations in 2017, which enabled it to continue operation as long as it made a profit.

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By GlobalData

The SRD mineral reserves are nearly depleted that are treated at Kloof 1 plant, and the Kloof Main SRD is expected to be completely mined out by the end of this year.

Sibanye-Stillwater said in a statement: “As a result, Kloof 1 plant will not be able to operate at full capacity, with its only remaining primary source of ore coming from Kloof 4 SRD. Cost reduction efforts have been ineffective in addressing the ongoing lack of profitability.”

Southern Africa chief regional officer Richard Stewart said: “To allow shafts and operating plants that are no longer sustainable to continue operating at a loss, will threaten the remaining life of mine of the other SA gold operations, and ultimately also the employees of the broader group.

“We are committed to minimising the impact of the proposed restructuring and will constructively engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses while attempting to limit the impact on the remainder of the operations employees and the sustainability of the group.”