The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) released a statement this weekend expressing Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi ongoing concern about the impending job losses in the mining sector.
The statement reminds mine right-holders of the importance to comply with all legal prescripts pertaining to the management of downscaling that may lead to job losses, more specifically Section 52 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), which requires that mining companies contemplating to retrench workers should notify the DMR.
In this regard, a special task team has been constituted to assess the situation and provide advice to the Mining Industry Growth and Development Task Team (MIGDETT). The task team meets on weekly basis and will be advising MIGDETT principals in due course.
The key mandate of the team is to explore ways and means of saving jobs through engagements with relevant mining stakeholders.
On the broader management of downscaling, Ramatlhodi has indicated that all mining companies are expected to have Social and Labour Plans which should encompass the creation of future fora and which is intended to create dialogues between unions and mining companies in the mineral resources sector on the future trajectories of the mining activities.
Ramatlhodi also emphasises that mining companies should develop a plan for portable skills training to ensure that mineworkers are equipped with necessary skills that can be used outside of mine employment should job losses become an eventuality.
The statement said that there are 19 companies that are likely to shed jobs. These companies are involved in mining of diamonds, gold and platinum.
“While we are mindful of the cyclical nature of mining, and the current challenges as a result of the decline in commodity prices, mine right-holders cannot circumvent provisions in the MPRDA pertaining to the management of job losses.
“At the last meeting of the MIGDETT we resolved to establish a task team focusing on initiatives to save jobs. This being a collective decision, I call on all stakeholders to lend maximum support to all efforts,” DMR director general Dr Thibedi Ramontja said.
Amidst the challenges being experienced in the mining industry, Ramatlhodi is currently engaging and making concerted efforts, together with the stakeholders, to save jobs in the sector.