Anglo CEO says miners must make “tough decisions” to remain profitable

(Reuters) – Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad said on Thursday mining companies have to confront tough decisions such as cutting costs as weak metal prices hit earnings, a day after the group announced plans to shed an undisclosed number of jobs.

The industry, including South Africa, where Anglo owns iron ore, platinum and diamond mines, is going through “challenging times”, Wanblad said in a virtual address to a South African mining conference.

Anglo said on Wednesday it is cutting some head office jobs across its global operations.

“We know that securing long-term competitive advantage and establishing a more resilient platform involves tough choices along the way,” Wanblad said.

Weaker metals prices and concerns of a global economic slowdown this year are compounding an electricity and freight rail logistics crisis in South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy and a leading global mining jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, Sibanye Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said job cuts in the platinum sector had become “inevitable” as prices of the precious metals fall.

Sibanye, South Africa’s biggest mining sector employer, may be forced to close some loss-making shafts, Froneman said.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya and Felix Njini)