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Johannesburg - Diversified mining group African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) said on Friday its first-half profit halved due to sharply softer commodity prices, prompting layoffs and costs cuts to stay afloat.

Headline earnings per share, a measure that strips off certain one off items, in the six months to December reached 233 cents from 473 cents a year earlier.

Read: ARM signals funding risk as profit drops

ARM, which has interests in platinum, iron ore, coal, copper, and gold saw lower prices in all of its commodities except for chrome.

“ARM has responded proactively to the commodity price downturn and has implemented operating and capital cost reduction initiatives at all its operations,” the company said in a statement.

The company operates joint ventures with Anglo American Platinum, Assore, Impala Platinum, Glencore and Vale.

ARM cut planned spending for the first half of 2016 by 15 percent to R1.4 billion ($92 million) mainly from curtailments in the ferrous metals Black Rock Project, which is its most capital intensive venture.

The company said it would cut jobs at its platinum mines Modikwa and Nkomati, Beeshoek iron ore mine and Khumani chrome mines but did not say how many positions were on the line.

All of these mines are in South Africa, where job cuts are a thorny political issue against the backdrop of an unemployment rate of around 25 percent and glaring income disparities.

The Lubambe copper mine in Zambia, a joint venture with Vale, was placed under review to lower cash requirements and preserve its resource value.