Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. said it will enter talks with labor unions over a possible restructuring at one of its South African gold mines that could impact almost 3,000 people.
(Bloomberg) — Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. said it will enter talks with labor unions over a possible restructuring at one of its South African gold mines that could impact almost 3,000 people.
The announcement is the latest blow for the company’s Kloof 4 shaft, where operations were suspended on Aug. 1 following an incident that damaged infrastructure. That “compounded” the challenges faced at the mine about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Johannesburg, the company in a statement Thursday.
The initiation of formal consultations “follows numerous unsuccessful attempts to address productivity issues and other operational constraints,” which have contributed to sustained losses even at high gold prices, Sibanye said.
The setback comes after Sibanye turned around its previously loss-making gold operations in the first six months of the year. The company — spun off from Gold Fields’s oldest South African mines in 2013 — is struggling to squeeze profits from mines that are among the deepest in the world and are becoming more costly to run.
Sibanye – one of the biggest employers in South Africa – has diversified into platinum group metals and battery metals as it shifts away from its original dependence on gold mining.
A possible restructuring at the so-called Kloof 4 shaft could affect 2,389 employees and 581 contractors, Sibanye said.
“We will engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses,” Executive Vice President Richard Cox said in the statement. The parties will “consider measures to avoid and mitigate possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to the potential cessation or downscaling of operations,” the company said. Almost 10,500 people work at the Kloof mine, according to Sibanye’s website.
A spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Solidarity union said they couldn’t comment without seeing the full paperwork.
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