JOHANNESBURG - The hemorrhaging of jobs in the mining industry continued with Impala Platinum (Implats), the world’s second biggest platinum producer yesterday announcing the latest proposed restructuring of its operations that could possibly lead to 2 500 employees job losses.
Implats, which posted a loss in the year to June, said in a statement that it had initiated a Section 189 consultation process, in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) with organised labour, the government and other stakeholders.
Implats said the consultation process was aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the Impala operations, which currently employs roughly 31 000 people. Implats chief executive, Nico Muller, said the financial sustainability of Implats had deteriorated significantly over recent years.
Muller also said the company had implemented ongoing cost saving and optimisation initiatives in an attempt to restore profitability and secure continued employment as far as possible.
“Unfortunately, we are now left with no further option in the prevailing operating environment, but to consider further restructuring processes that may lead to a reduction in the number of employees,” he said.
“It is expected that some 2 500 people could be affected near term, but this does not preclude further optimisation processes that may be required in future to ensure the continued sustainability of the operation,” Muller said. But Muller said the restructuring was not cast in stone.
“It must be emphasised that no final decision has been taken as regards the proposed restructuring, and no final decision will be taken prior to full and proper consultation with affected employees, and their representatives, in compliance with the LRA,” he said.
Implats last week posted a R2.68 billion headline loss at its Rustenburg operations coupled with a R10 billion impairment and said last week it would review its assets.
The company said yesterday that it was experiencing severe financial pressures, largely as a result of persistently low metal prices and continued production cost increases.
“Labour productivity rates have also declined over the last few years and production levels at Impala Rustenburg have reduced from a historical base of some 1 000 000 platinum ounces per annum, to the 680 000 to 720 000 ounces forecast for the 2018 financial year,” it said.
- BUSINESS REPORT