Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum (Implats) said on Wednesday that it was implementing its strategic restructuring plan that included the retrenchment of 1 500 workers at its Impala Rustenburg operation.

This is despite Implats reporting its highest first-quarter mill tonnage at 3.15 million tons for the past six years between July and September, with tonnes milled at Impala Rustenburg increasing by 5.6 percent compared to the previous corresponding quarter.

In August, the world's second largest platinum miner announced that it would cut a combined 13 000 direct and contract jobs over two years as part of a strategic restructuring process after the Rustenburg operation showed that optimisation measures in the prevailing low platinum price environment were not sufficient to secure its economic viability. 

This includes considering alternative commercial outcomes, which could include the sale of identified shafts or full-contract mining provisions.

Implats said it was engaging with parties interested in acquiring Impala Rustenburg's 1 Shaft which, as per the restructuring plan, is scheduled to be put on care and maintenance from April 2019. The company employs about 31 000 people at its Rustenburg operation.

In parallel to the 1 Shaft disposal process, Implats said it was continuing to engage with parties who may have an interest in the 100 percent outsourcing of 1 Shaft to a third-party contractor.

Nico Muller, Implats' chief executive, said they were moving ahead with the initiatives implemented at the operation to improve safety, production and cost performance.

"We remain steadfast in our resolve to eliminate high-cost production at this business, aligned with our lower future metal prices outlook," Muller said.

"To this end, we have progressed the Section 189 restructuring process for 1 500 employees and engaged with parties interested in potentially acquiring the 1 Shaft operation, which is scheduled to be put on care and maintenance in April 2019 as per our restructuring plan."

Implats projected once-off restructuring costs of approximately R2.7 billion during 2019 and 2020 financial years.

African News Agency (ANA)