Anglo American cutting head office jobs in several countries

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -Anglo American said it is cutting corporate office jobs across several countries, as unions said its South African iron ore business plans to lay off scores of workers at its head office.

The global mining giant had started reorganising its operations in May, a spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We expect a potential reduction in corporate office roles across a number of countries,” the spokesperson added, without giving further details of the size or location of the cuts.

Livhuwani Mammburu, spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, earlier told Reuters that Anglo’s Kumba Iron Ore plans to cut 183 jobs, mostly at its head office, as it faces challenges in moving sufficient volumes to ports as a result of rail constraints in South Africa.

The job cuts could be pared back to about 141 if the restructuring plan is successful, Mammburu said, adding the labour group opposed the plans.

“Kumba said it’s embarking on a restructuring and the main reasons they are giving is they are not able to transport more iron ore to the port due to the problems with Transnet,” Mammburu said, referring to the state-owned logistics company.

The miner’s iron ore exports have been throttled by frequent disruptions, often caused by locust swarms, on the rail line operated by Transnet. The disruptions have recently been worsened by cable thefts and derailments.

As a result, Kumba has been forced to stockpile more iron ore at mines. Kumba’s profit in the six months through June fell by 17% due to the rail challenges and softer prices.

(Reporting by Felix Njini and Nelson Banya; Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter and Alexander Smith)