JOHANNESBURG—When mining giant Anglo American PLC said last week that it would shed more than half its global workforce in the coming years, nowhere did the news hit harder than in South Africa, the mining behemoth’s ancestral home.
Anglo American, founded in Johannesburg in 1917, operated exclusively in southern Africa until the 1960s. Although the company upped stakes for London in 1999, ties to the old country still run deep.
Anglo American employed 72,000 people in South Africa as of the end of last year, about 48% of its total global workforce. Anglo American Platinum Ltd., majority owned by Anglo American but listed as a separate entity in Johannesburg, accounted for 49,763 of that total.
Announcing its sweeping job reductions on 8 December, Anglo American said that most of the job reductions will be connected to asset sales as the group slims down to weather today’s commodities rout. That has the South African government and industry braced for possible job losses, amid broader economic woes.
Two days after the company’s announcement, South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources said it was “awaiting a detailed presentation…which should include the impact on jobs and measures to save them.”
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