Jan 28 South Africa’s mines minister said on Thursday that 32,000 workers in the sector could lose their jobs following a slump in commodity prices due to slowing economic growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.
Firms in the mining industry which employs more than 400,000 people and contributes around 7 percent to Africa’s most industrialised economy, have warned that they have to cut costs and close struggling mines to cope with sinking commodity prices, rising costs and labour unrest.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Sep. 28 that about 22,000 jobs in the industry were under threat and urged the government to intervene to save jobs. Mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane said this figure had risen.
“The figures were at 23,000, they are currently at 32,000 but not everybody has lost jobs as it had been indicated … we have plans that we put together with the stakeholders to mitigate the effect of job losses,” he said at a press conference in the capital Pretoria televised by ENCA channel.
“Those plans will include, among others, re-skilling of workers … transferring workers from this mine that has a problem to other mines just to mention but a few,” he said.
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