The Chamber of Mines shares these concerns and urges all stakeholders to work together to preserve the viability of the industry in order to save jobs.
The South African mining industry continues to be under significant economic and financial pressure. Between 2014 and 2016, the industry made an accumulative net loss of around R50 billion.
The Chamber of Mines believes increasing cost pressures such as the steep increase in the price of electricity, increased labour costs and the increased cost of materials such as steel, combined with the continued decline in productivity for various reasons, including the inappropriate application of Section 54 stoppages have served to undermine the sector.
Under these circumstances mining companies have been compelled to restructure to ensure their survival.
Between 2012 and 2016, the industry lost around 70 000 jobs as it struggled to remain viable.
This is despite the industry agreeing to and participating in discussions relating to the 10-point jobs declaration.
The Chamber of Mines believes this is unfortunate as the industry received little support from other stakeholders and was left to battle the crisis and try to remain viable on its own.
At the same time, continued regulatory uncertainty and the unilateral imposition of the Department of Mineral Resources’ Mining Charter have served to detract investment in the sector, further exacerbating the already critical situation.
In its current form, the Department of Mineral Resources’ Mining Charter will further raise costs in the mining sector through direct and hidden levies, further jeopardising current operations and the viability of new ones.
As many as 100 000 direct and 200 000 indirect jobs could be at risk in the short to medium term.
“Our industry’s future, and its ability to continue to provide employment and benefits to employees, depends on the ability of its stakeholders to actively consult each other and work together to create conducive policy, legislative and operating environment that facilitates transformation and realises the economic potential of the mining sector for the benefit of all South Africans,” says Chamber of Mines CEO, Roger Baxter.
Feature image credit: Sibanye Gold