AngloGold may axe third of workforce – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – June 28, 2017)

Mining union ‘angry and shocked’ at decision, but costs at Kopanang and Savuka are unsustainable

AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-largest gold miner, could cut up to 8,500 jobs, or a third of its South African workforce, as two unprofitable mines reach the end of their lives.

In SA, the mining industry has shed 70,000 jobs over the past five years because of high costs, volatile commodity prices and — in the case of platinum, stagnant, weak prices — as well as declining productivity.

“This is a difficult decision, which follows a period of significant and, ultimately, unsustainable losses and also the evaluation of the options available to return our South African business to profitability,” said Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, the CEO of AngloGold.

“It is critical that we act to protect the long-term sustainability of this business and the majority of our workforce.”

Citigroup pointed out that the two mines due for closure operated at about double the AngloGold cost average of $744/oz in 2016 and that stopping the mines would enhance the company’s headline earnings a share about 10% a year, excluding one-off restructuring costs.

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