Precious metals mining company Sibanye-Stillwater is looking to restructure one of its gold operations in South Africa (SA) due to operational constraints and ongoing losses over an extended period.

The move is expected to impact about 2,389 employees and 581 contractors at Kloof 4 shaft, which suspended operations on 1 August 2023 due to an incident that damaged infrastructure.

Sibanye Stillwater now intends to start talks with organised labour and other affected stakeholders, regarding the possible restructuring.

In a press statement, Sibanye Stillwater said: “The initiation of S189 consultations follows numerous unsuccessful attempts to address productivity issues and other operational constraints at the Kloof 4 shaft, including seismicity and cooling constraints (associated with the chilled water reticulation circuit), which together have contributed to sustained losses, even at recent high gold prices.”

The company noted that these factors impacted the productivity at the Kloof 4 shaft and have jeopardised its financial viability.

Through the consultation process, the firm intends to consider measures to help reduce potential layoffs. It will also look for alternatives to the potential cessation or scale-back operations.

Sibanye-Stillwater SA gold operations head and executive vice-president Richard Cox said: “We will engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses while attempting to limit the impact on the remainder of the operations and employees at the SA gold operations.”

Currently, three shafts are still in operation at the Kloof gold mine in the West Wits Line of the Witwatersrand Basin, reported Bloomberg News.