Mining / File photo

Impala Platinum losing R2 billion a year: Job cuts inevitable

The world’s second largest platinum miner says it has no other option but to down-scale operations.


Mining / File photo

Impala Platinum (Implats) say they are losing R2 billion a year, and that the only way to stay afloat is by restructuring operations and implementing a retrenchment strategy.

Implats, the world’s second-largest platinum miner, has confirmed that 13 000 employees stand to lose their jobs within the next three years. This retrenchment strategy is aimed at creating a profitable business model by 2021.

While the mining corporation admits that mass retrenchments are regrettable – it has been left with no other option.

Implats left with no other option

Speaking to Business Day, Implats spokesperson, Johan Theron, provided more detail regarding the restructuring process, noting that costs to the company will exceed R2.7 billion, with the program reaching completion in 2021.

In order to remain financially relevant, the corporation hopes to reduce costs from R25 100 per platinum ounce in 2017 to less than R22 000 per platinum ounce in 2021.

Speaking on the beleaguered position of Implats, Theron said:

“We’ve been losing up to R2bn 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.”

The company maintains that its focus is on the long-term possibilities afforded by the restricting process. Implat says that should the process be successful, and result in maximising profits post-2021, that it will secure up to 27 000 jobs for the long term.

Retaliation from trade unions

But the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has threatened war should Implats retrenchment strategy materialise.

Joseph Mathunjwa, the president of Amcu, has promised retaliation should job cuts materialise, stating:

“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.”

This Implats retrenchment announcement adds further despair to the unemployment figures released last week. According to Statistics SA, unemployment has gone up to 27.2% following the loss of 105 000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.