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Africa

Amplats mine closures risk 14,000 South African jobs

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-01-15

The world's number one platinum producer Anglo American Platinum said on Monday it will close four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, a move which could lead to the loss of up to 14,000 jobs.

Top global platinum miner Anglo American Platinum could cut up to 14,000 jobs in a major restructuring of its strike-hit South African operations, the firm said Tuesday.

Amplats plans to close four shafts and sell a mine considered unsustainable, it said in a statement.

"As a result of the proposed changes to the business, a total of up to 14,000 jobs may be affected, 13,000 of which will be in the Rustenburg area," 110 kilometres (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, it said.

"As a result, the production profile will be reduced by approximately 400,000 ounces per annum with a baseline production target of 2.1-2.3 million ounces per annum," it said.

"The Union Mines are likely to be of greater value under different ownership," it added.

Operations in South Africa have been unsustainable "for some time" because of capital intensity, low-quality ore and rising costs, Amplats said.

Mineworkers' demands for higher wages crippled production across South Africa's mining sector last year, and resulted in violence that killed at least 50 people amid a police crackdown.

The strikes reduced Amplats production by around 306,000 ounces, but did not prompt the changes, CEO Chris Griffith told Talk Radio 702.

"The strikes were not the reason for us having to restructure the company," he said.

Amplats launched a review of its operations in February 2012.

It will try to replace job losses with job creations in "housing, infrastructure and small business development" in the mining areas and areas that habitually send labour to the mines, notably the Eastern Cape province and neighbouring Mozambique and Lesotho.

The world's number one platinum producer warned Monday that its 2012 earnings would probably show a loss of 491 to 628 cents per share, down from a profit of 1,365 cents per share in 2011.

A reassessment of the value of its assets resulted in a write-down of 463 million rand ($53 million), it said.

Harmony Gold announced earlier in January that it may shut its Kusasalethu mine in Carletonville near Johannesburg, potentially affecting 6,000 staff.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-01-15

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