The Amplats mine
in Rustenburg,
northwest of
Johannesburg, South Africa — 20 August 2013 – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) a unit of mining giant Anglo American, has confirmed that it aims to cut almost 7,000 jobs (up from 6,000) after months of talks with the government and unions.

Amplats, which is trying to restore profits, explained that  in addition to the 6,000 jobs it had been targeting, “approximately 900 corporate and overhead employees will also be affected,” reports Fin24. The surprise addition of white-collar job cuts takes the planned job cuts to about half of the 14,000 initially proposed.

The company scaled back its original plans after a massive backlash from the government and unions, which have embarked on violent illegal strikes in the last 18 months. More than 50 people have died in violent strikes in South Africa’s platinum belt since a bitter battle for membership between unions was taken from the mines to the streets.

“We are at a critical stage of the process and this restructuring will be a crucial step to enable us to return to profitability,” said Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith

The miner said it would begin laying off the estimated 6 900 on September 1. “A month’s notice period for affected employees will commence on 1 September,” said Griffith.

The firm, which accounts for almost 40% of global platinum sales, said it would aim for production of 2.2 to 2.4 million platinum ounces per year. “The implementation of our proposals will help us create stability for the business,” said Griffith.

Amplats said the ultimate number of retrenchments would depend on retrenchment avoidance measures such as voluntary severance packages, early retirement and re-deployments.

It was one of several major international mining companies that have been pummelled by labour unrest. Its profits have been obliterated by high wage bills and increased electricity costs. At the same time, expensive deeper mines yielded lower grade metals.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.