Expatica news

Amplats says to begin firing 6,900 S.Africa workers

World number one platinum producer Anglo American Platinum announced Monday it will begin laying off an estimated 6,900 workers in South Africa on September 1.

“A month’s notice period for affected employees will commence on 1 September,” said Amplats CEO Chris Griffith, finalising plans to cut 6,000 mine and 900 corporate jobs to save around $400 million a year.

The ultimate number will depend on “voluntary severance packages, early retirement, redeployments and the filling of internal vacancies.”

The plan, initially put forward in May, comes after talks with the government and unions.

Amplats had first proposed around 14,000 job cuts. The firm, which accounts for almost 40 percent of global platinum sales, said it will aim for production of 2.2 to 2.4 million platinum ounces per year.

“The implementation of our proposals will help us create stability for the business,” said Griffith.

Amplats has been one of several major international mining companies that have been pummelled by labour unrest.

Many of the firm’s most productive mines are in the restive Rustenburg area, which is also home to Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, the scene of deadly violence a year ago.

On Friday the comrades and families of 34 miners shot dead by South African police marked the first anniversary of the bloodbath which shocked the world, and the mining sector.

Amplats profits have been obliterated by high wage bills and increased electricity costs.

At the same time, expensive deeper mines yielded lower grade metals.