Anglo American Platinum

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum plans to cut thousands of jobs across its operations in South Africa as it reels from low metal prices. Image: Anglo American

Anglo American to cut thousands of platinum jobs in South Africa

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum plans to cut thousands of jobs across its operations in South Africa as it reels from low metal prices.

Anglo American Platinum

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum plans to cut thousands of jobs across its operations in South Africa as it reels from low metal prices. Image: Anglo American

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum said on Monday it plans to cut thousands of jobs across its operations in South Africa as it reels from low metal prices.

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The company said it has started a restructuring process that will impact 3 700 employees – about 17 percent of its workforce – after its 2023 profit slumped 71 percent on the previous year.

Coming just months before a general election and affecting a key economic sector, the job cuts are likely to reflect poorly on the government, which is already contending with high unemployment and lacklustre growth.

Anglo American decision a ‘last resort’

Anglo American Platinum’s CEO Craig Miller said the decision was taken as a “last resort” after implementing several other “cost-saving initiatives”.

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“Given the market outlook and protracted low-price environment due to structural changes in our markets further measures are required to build the resilience that will sustain this business,” he said.

The contracts of 620 service providers are also to be reviewed as part of the restructuring process, which involves consultations with labour unions.

Mining employs hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa – the biggest exporter of platinum and a major exporter of gold, diamonds, coal and other raw materials.

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The sector accounts for about seven percent of the country’s economic output, according to industry figures.

Sitting at more than 32 percent, unemployment is a key political issue ahead of the general election set to take place between May and August.

In power since the advent of democracy in 1994, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is struggling in the polls, its reputation tainted by accusations of graft and mismanagement.

Polls suggest it could win as little as 40 percent of the vote which would force it to seek a coalition government to stay in power.

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse