The continued fall in the price of platinum has Sibanye Stillwater in a panic.
The CEO of South Africa's biggest mining sector employer told Reuters on Wednesday that as the price of platinum continues to fall, this may lead to the mine being forced to close some of its loss-making shafts.
CEO, Neal Froneman said that this would lead to job loss in the platinum sector. He said that significant restructuring would happen in the industry as the mine tries to stay profitable.
"We certainly can't run unprofitable shafts and I know that our cost structure is probably the lowest in the industry. So if we have loss-making shafts, which we have a few, they will have to be closed, and I say this with all the sensitivities on potential job losses."
Sibanya and other SA mines in the industry have been seeing record profits in the past year with “platinum sister metals rhodium hit almost $30,000 an ounce in 2021 and palladium soared to more than $3,400 an ounce,” according to Reuters.
But in early morning trade on Thursday, the price of platinum was $876.90.
Froneman argues that it may be best for the business to close some loss-making operations and this would mean some job loss.
"I think it's highly likely there will be some significant restructuring in platinum, across the entire industry," he noted.
"We will do our best to get productivity up, but inevitably the country should prepare for significant restructuring in the metals sector," Froneman said.
Sibanye Stillwater has around 85 000 workers, with mines in SA and the US.
THE WRITING HAS BEEN ON THE WALL
In September, trade union Solidarity said it was concerned about the fate of almost 3,000 Sibanye mineworkers after the mining company announced lay-offs were on the horizon.
The union said it would actively participate in the consultation process with the aim of preventing lay-offs, or at least, limiting job cuts.
Sibanye said it intended to lay-off a total of 2,389 workers and 581 contract workers from the Kloof 4 shaft at Carletonville.