'We are losing R2bn a year' - Implats explains why it must cut jobs

Miners moving in a mining tunnel.
Miners moving in a mining tunnel.

While the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has threatened to bring all of Impala Platinum’s South African mines to a standstill around the loss of 13‚000 jobs‚ the world’s second-largest platinum miner says it cannot afford to take a lengthy strike at its 11 shafts in Rustenburg and two mines in Limpopo.

"It could put the entire company at risk‚ something we are trying very hard to avoid‚" company spokesman Johan Theron told Business Day.

Theron said Implats is undertaking a R2.7-billion restructuring programme after six years of trying to find alternatives.

"We’ve been losing up to R2-billion a year over the past six years and we’ve reached a point [where] we have to do something to save as many jobs as we can."

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa on Monday proposed that the government nationalise the five of 11 shafts that Implats has proposed closing or selling over the next two years.

He threatened that if talks with Implats failed and all Amcu’s avoidance measures were not considered and "put in practice"‚ then Amcu would bring the company’s South African mines to a complete halt.

"We’ll hit them where it matters most. We’ll ask for secondary strikes . . . so if Impala owns mines in Limpopo‚ we will make sure that not one ounce of platinum will leave the ground. We are capable of doing that. We are not bluffing‚" Mathunjwa said.

See the full report in today's Business Day .

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