SA’s mining sector has bled 47‚000 jobs in three years

The South African mining sector cut 47‚000 jobs between 2012 and early 2015 as the industry grappled with soaring costs and low commodity prices‚ said Roger Baxter‚ CEO of the Chamber of Mines.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said recently a further 32‚000 jobs were under threat‚ and the industry was working closely with the government and labour to minimise job losses.

Speaking before the start of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town‚ Baxter said the gold industry‚ followed by platinum and coal‚ had cut the bulk of the 47‚000 jobs in little more than three years.

Mining costs had increased by an average 20% a year for the past five years‚ he said‚ and electricity was the core component in those cost increases.

At prevailing prices‚ about 80% of the platinum industry was loss-making‚ while in coal and iron ore about half of production was under water.

It was for this reason that there was talk of the 32‚000 jobs under threat‚ chamber president Mike Teke said‚ adding that a large number of companies were talking about retrenchments‚ restructuring and cutting production‚ and putting mines into care and maintenance.