Platinum group metals miner Wesizwe Platinum has announced that its subsidiary Bakubung Minerals is considering axing 571 jobs at its Bakubung platinum mine (BPM) operations, in the North West province of South Africa.
The move forms part of a possible restructuring of the Bakubung platinum group metal project amid operational disruptions and a drop in metal prices.
Currently, Wesizwe employs 761 people at the Bakubung project.
Bakubung Minerals has now commenced mandatory consultations with organised labour and other stakeholders pertaining to the possible restructuring of the BPM operations.
Through the formal Section 189 consultation process, the company and affected stakeholders intend to look into alternatives and measures to avoid and reduce possible retrenchments.
In a press statement, Wesizwe said: “The contemplated retrenchment consultation process has further been compounded by the downturn in the mining industry, as well as the two community strikes in the year 2022 and 2023 and the recent five weeks unprotected strike, which affected the mine development progress adversely.”
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Wesizwe said the consultation follows the board of directors’ approval for transitioning from the hybrid mining method to board and pillar mining. This results in a reduced number of employees to establish and maintain the production profile specified in the business plan.
According to the South African company, the restructuring process would ensure efficient and effective operation of the BPM operations and reduce operating expenditure.
Wesizwe said in a statement: “As things stand Bakubung has already stopped overtime and weekend work, did not renew contracts of mining contract services and fixed-term contracts of non-critical staff and placed a moratorium on recruitment of non-core and critical staff with the aim of reducing the bloated structure that causes inefficiencies.”