JOHANNESBURG  - Sibanye-Stillwater said on Wednesday that it has reduced the number of workers to be laid off to 3,450 after concluding the section 189 consultation process at its South African gold operations.

In February, Sibanye announced a proposed restructuring of its SA gold operations and associated services due to ongoing financial losses experienced at the Beatrix 1 shaft and Driefontein 2,6,7 and 8 shafts since 2017. Approximately 5,870 employees and 800 contractors were potentially going to be affected by the restructuring.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sibanye said the outcome of the S189 process, following consultations with stakeholders, was that job losses were nearly halved, with approximately 3,450 employees finally affected by the restructuring.

Sibanye said the bulk of the affected jobs was accounted by voluntary separation, early retirement and natural attrition, with forced retrenchments limited to approximately 800 employees and 550 contract workers.

The miner said agreements have been reached with stakeholders that Driefontein 8 shaft will remain in operation for as long as it makes a profit, on average, over any continuous period of three months, after accounting for all-in sustaining costs, providing extended employment for approximately 970 employees and 55 contractors.

In the event that this operation becomes loss making again, it will be placed on care and maintenance with immediate effect.

However, no viable alternatives were found for the Beatrix 1 shaft and Driefontein 2, 6 and 7 shafts, as well as Beatrix 2 plant.

As such, Beatrix 1 and Driefontein 2 shafts will be placed on care and maintenance, while Driefontein 6 and 7 shafts and Beatrix 2 plant will be closed.

Sibanye said additional cost reductions were envisaged through the rationalisation of single accommodation units, training facilities, occupational healthcare centres and primary healthcare facilities amongst others.

In addition, Sibanye said strategic initiatives to allow for controlled re-watering, associated with a reduction in pumping costs, were being considered including rationalisation of pumping infrastructure at Driefontein 10 shaft.

- African News Agency (ANA)