Anglo Platinum to axe 3,300 jobs

The world's biggest platinum producer Anglo American Platinum Ltd (Anglo Platinum) said yesterday that the company would cut approximately 3,300 jobs, less than a quarter of the redundancies it announced earlier in January, as part of the company's restructuring.

Johannesburg-based Anglo Platinum is a unit of global mining major Anglo American Ltd. The company produces around 38 per cent of the global requirement of the metal. Anglo Platinum's main operations are located in the Bushveld Igneous Complex, a large region that contains a range of minerals containing chromium, vanadium, and platinum group metals.

In January, the miner proposed to retrench up to 14,000 workers in its effort to return to profit. However, following a series of negotiations with South Africa's department of mineral resources and the workers' unions, the proposed job cuts were brought down in May to approximately 6,000.

The job cuts have now been reduced further as a result of extensive and rigorous consultations facilitated by the country's independent dispute resolution body CCMA during the past three months.

These redundancies are in addition to the slashing of approximately 900 corporate and overhead positions announced last week.

The company had around 50,900 employees and 4,200 contract workers as at the end of 2012.

Anglo Platinum said that it had been taking a series of retrenchment avoidance measures to minimise the number of affected employees.

These steps included redeployment of 1,600 people into vacancies across the group, voluntary severance packages and early retirement so 1,500 and about 500 other opportunities.

The affected 3,300 employees will be given one month notice beginning 2 September 2013.

The company proposes a social impact mitigation plan for the retrenched workers which include temporary employment of 1,200 persons for mine reclamation over the next six to nine months, about 800 job opportunities in a housing project jointly undertaken with the municipality and the government, and 1,000 potential jobs to be created within a year through investments in agriculture, waste recycling etc.

Anglo Platinum's CEO Chris Griffith said: "This is a difficult time for our employees and the company and we have made every possible effort to minimise the impact on employees and affected communities.''

''This comprehensive package of measures that we and our stakeholders have worked so hard to achieve will enable us to restructure Anglo American Platinum, to return the business to a sound footing and to create and sustain employment opportunities into the long term,'' he further stated.

Platinum, a rare precious metal, is used in catalytic converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, other equipment and jewelry.

Anglo Platinum has reported headline earnings of $140 million for the six months ended June, after reporting a full-year loss of $170 million in 2012.

Prices for the metal have come down around 13 per cent to $1521 an ounce from their February high of $1741 an ounce.