South African mining company Sibanye-Stillwater has initiated Section 189 consultations as part of its restructuring strategy for its gold operations.

The proposed changes could potentially impact 3,107 employees and 915 contractors.

This move comes as the company seeks to address ongoing losses, particularly at the Beatrix 1 shaft, which has failed to meet production targets.

The precious metals producer has also highlighted issues at the Kloof 2 plant, which has struggled with insufficient processing material since the closure of the Kloof 4 shaft in 2023.

Additionally, the deferral of capital expenditure at the Burnstone project, announced in February 2024, necessitates restructuring to align with the reduced capital activities planned.

The recent and proposed future restructuring and closures have led to an excess in the capacity of direct and shared services functions for the company’s operations in the South African region.

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Sibanye-Stillwater is proposing a realignment of regional, shared and direct services structures to match the requirements of the reduced operational footprint.

This strategy aims to decrease direct operational services costs and regional overheads, contributing to the sustainability of the South African operations.

Management has deemed it prudent to begin the S189 consultation process regarding the potential restructuring of operations and services.

They have invited the affected employees and their representatives to partake in consultations as mandated by Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act.

In preparation for the consultations, management and organised labour representatives have already explored various alternatives in Future Forum meetings.

The company has expressed openness to all reasonable options that may be proposed by the affected employees through their representatives to mitigate the losses during the Section 189A consultation process.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said: “We continue to act prudently to protect the balance sheet and ensure the sustainability of the Group. We are committed to constructively engaging with affected employees and through their representatives to minimise job losses.”

In 2023, the company reported a $2bn (R37.45bn) annual loss, hit by weak metal prices. 

It has already axed 2,600 jobs across its South African platinum group metal (PGM) operations through voluntary separation or early retirement packages, natural attrition as well as termination.