Picture Antoine de Ras
Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday it would oppose plans by AngloGold Ashanti to retrench as many as 8500 workers. 

The union said in a statement that its shaft stewards council met to deliberate on the move. “The meeting resolved to oppose the planned retrenchments and will engage relevant government departments and the company in an effort to avoid job losses,” NUM said. 

Last week, AngloGold Ashanti said it planned to retrench workers in order to restructure its operations. It said it wanted to place on care and maintenance the Kopanang mine in the Vaal River region and the Savuka section of the TauTona mine in the West Wits region. 

Savuka has been in operation for 59 years. Kopanang produced its first gold in 1981. The company’s operations in South Africa employ about 28 000 people, including contractors. 

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has instructed the Minerals and Petroleum Board to verify whether the information provided by AngloGold Ashanti motivating for the retrenchments took into consideration industry commitments to save jobs. Zwane met AngloGold Ashanti chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan and his executives on Friday.