Solidarity has said that AngloGold Ashanti’s announcement that it is possibly going to sell Mponeng, its only remaining mine in South Africa, along with all its other mining operations does not come as a surprise.
However, the trade union still finds it disappointing that the company has identified better growth opportunities outside South Africa. “This announcement does not only prejudice job security, but would cause major uncertainty among employees, directly impacting employee morale,” Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said.
According to Du Plessis, AngloGold Ashanti already started to drastically downscale its operations in South Africa over the past few years, but the company is still known for the responsible way in which it manages such processes, as well as for the high labour relations standards it sets
Du Plessis said that Solidarity is hoping that the process to be followed to possibly sell the mine would be a responsible one. He also urged that it would be made a condition of the deal that the new owner take on all of the affected AngloGold Ashanti workers on the same conditions of service, and that the same labour relations and safety standards be maintained.
“This implies that the next owner should have the necessary track record, expertise and capital to successfully manage the mine for its potential remaining lifetime of 37 years or more,” Du Plessis said.
Du Plessis pointed out that AngloGold Ashanti CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky, had fully briefed trade unions about the decision to sell the mining operations and that Solidarity would work closely with the company to ensure that South African mining expertise is not lost in the process and that the services of mining specialists currently based at the company’s head office would be retained, should they proceed to sell.
“Solidarity will keep a close eye on AngloGold Ashanti’s consideration to sell and if our members’ interests are not protected by the process, we would certainly object to the Competition Tribunal,” Du Plessis concluded.