JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), which is setting out to create at least one new non-mining job for every mining job lost in its proposed downsizing, saw its own share price and the global platinum price rise after announcing the most far-reaching restructuring of its 58-year history, which proposes that two mines close, four shafts be mothballed, a mine be put up for sale and the 14 000 mining jobs earmarked for shedding be matched by the creation of at least an equal number of new non-mining jobs.
In addition to redeploying one-third of 14 000 people back into the rest Anglo American group and the mining industry as a whole, Amplats is offering a new non-mining job opportunity, on top of a retrenchment package, to each of the employees who cannot be placed in another mining job and are forced to enter the non-mining space.
The aim in reducing the employee complement to 45 000 is to be job neutral. “We’ll seek to ensure that we compensate for any necessary labour restructuring through the creation of an equivalent number of non-mining jobs,” Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said.
This saw its share price rise 1.28% on the JSE to R497.30 before 10 am and the platinum price rise to $1 691/oz, overtaking a gold price of $1 653/oz. South Africa’s Chamber of Mines CEO Bheki Sibiya applauded Amplats for setting out to create new non-mining jobs in housing, infrastructure and small business development in Rustenburg and labour-sending areas to make amends for the mining jobs lost.
But Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said her department had been “blindsided” and described as “not workable” Amplats’ non-mining job-creation plan.
Liberum Capital analyst Ben Davis saw the jobs-neutral target as being “very optimistic”, given the continuing 25% South African unemployment rate.
Davis noted further that the news of 400 000 oz/y of capacity being put on care-and-maintenance had resulted in the platinum price rising above the gold price for the first time since March 2012.
Griffith told Mining Weekly Online that two job initiatives were being proposed; the first was the redeployment of Amplats mining employees mostly within the Anglo American mining group itself – where there had been a moratorium on additional employment until the completion of the Amplats review.
Amplats would do everything in its power to facilitate that process, including the opening of Teba recruitment offices at its mines to enable maximum redeployment of mining personnel to mining companies.
Once that opportunity was exhausted, the remaining employees, who ended up without an opportunity to continue to work in the mining sector, would be offered work in housing, entrepreneurship, platinum beneficiation and rural development in labour-sending areas.
These were expected to make up about two-thirds of the 14 000.
The second initiative would involve Amplats reskilling employees to enable them to obtain new jobs, in addition to receiving the retrenchment package.
Amplats was putting up a fund of R300-million to build 15 000 houses for its employees in Rustenburg as part of what it calls its anchor housing project and expected 6 000 new jobs to be created as a result.
Those workers not redeployed would be reskilled to contribute to a better social environment in Rustenburg and simultaneously provide non-mining employment.
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