Impala Platinum to cut over 13,000 jobs as metal price remains at 10-year low
By Liam Sheasby, News Editor
20 Aug 2018
South African firm Impala Platinum (Implats) has said it will have to cut 13,400 jobs in a major shake-up as the company seeks to counter the losses suffered from a drop in platinum prices and the rise in production costs.
The world’s second-largest platinum miner employs 40,000 people currently and is planning to implement the cuts over the next two years, bringing production down from 750,000 ounces a year to 520,000 and closing five mines in the process.
By reducing production and staff numbers Implats hopes to cancel out the company’s losses and limit the amount of surplus platinum in the market, pushing prices back up. A company statement said: “In a phased approach‚ operations will therefore cease at Impala Rustenburg’s end‐of‐life and uneconomic shafts‚ with future mining activity focused on profitable‚ lower-cost‚ high‐value‚ and longer‐life assets.”
The South African Miner’s Union has said it will oppose the job cuts, threatening mass industrial action. Unemployment is a major issue in South Africa, with around 28% of people out of work.
South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe, criticised Impala Platinum’s decision. “My view is that it’s irresponsible to say you’ll retrench 13,000 people over the next two years” he said. “You’re being casual about the serious activity of terminating the employment of many people, you’re refusing to think ahead and mitigate for many people.”