SA Mining industry leaders including the Chamber of Mines, the Department of Mineral Resources and organised business and labour on Monday participated in the signing of the Leaders’ Declaration – Mining Industry Commitment to Save Jobs and Ameliorate the Impact of Job Losses.

The declaration was one of the outcomes of the multi-stakeholder Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team (MIGDETT). The process initiated by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi on 5 August 2015 during which the minister established the Job Loss Task Team to look at ways and means to save jobs and ameliorate the impact of job losses in the mining sector has now completed its task.

The primary objective of the process has been to identify short and medium to long term interventions to address the challenges currently faced by the mining industry, including recent and potential job losses, and the identification of possible solutions to ensure that the industry remains competitive and stable.

Chamber of Mines CEO Roger Baxter noted that: “Some of the issues being confronted include depressed commodity prices, unsustainable cost increases, electricity supply disruptions and the pressure on the viability of mining companies. Only through preserving the viability of our industry can jobs be preserved.”

The parties agreed to a number of job saving interventions:

  • not unreasonably withholding extensions to consultation processes to allow for the implementation of interventions to address job losses;
  • enhancing productivity and managing cost pressures;
  • accelerated concurrent rehabilitation activities to create alternative jobs for mineworkers;
  • facilitating the sale of distressed and other mining assets; and
  • evaluating other alternatives to avoid job losses.

In respect of the interventions to ameliorate job losses, stakeholders agreed to provide support to mineworkers in the event that job losses cannot be avoided; and using the multi-national companies’ procurement levy to support employment opportunities for retrenched mineworkers.

In respect of regulatory framework and other enablers, stakeholders agreed to streamlining of processes for downscaling, updating of databases and exploring fiscal instruments; investment promotion and market development; as well as communicating responsibly and in alignment with the Stakeholder Declaration where there is a risk of job losses.

Baxter noted that the Chamber of Mines’ members were fully committed to the MIGDETT process, and that it is “important that all stakeholders collaborate to protect the viability of the industry and thus save jobs.”

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