London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 January 2009 – The De Beers Group – the world’s largest diamond company – has revised its mining plans for South Africa, and says it is to cut jobs at its six mines in the country because of the slowdown in the global economy.
“Prices of diamonds and other commodities have slumped as economies in the United States, Europe and Japan slip into recession,” reports Bloomberg News, “and the United States accounts for about half of world diamond demand.”
“We have started the consultation process with the unions and with government,” said David Noko, managing director of De Beers Consolidated Mining.
Reuters – quoting De Beers spokeswoman Lynette Gould – said the number of workers to be dismissed would probably be less than 1 000 out of the 3 500 people the company employed in South Africa. De Beers’ director of communications David Prager was not immediately available for comment.
Anglo American Plc owns 45% of De Beers, with the balance held by the Oppenheimer family and the government of Botswana.
Meanwhile Toronto-based BRC DiamondCore Limited announced earlier this month that it would extend a shutdown at its South African operations and start talks with labour unions over job cuts because of persistent depressed diamond prices.