JOHANNESBURG, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Gold Fields’ chief executive officer Nick Holland said on Thursday he was not considering resigning after mines minister Gwede Mantashe blamed the company’s plan to cut jobs at its struggling South African mine on “poor management”.
Gold Fields, which posted its interim results on Thursday, said this week it planned to cut 1,100 permanent jobs at the company’s last South African asset, South Deep, sending its shares plummeting.
The bullion producer’s plans drew scathing comments from Mantashe, a blunt-speaking former trade unionist and senior figure in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
“Gold Fields is sitting on the second biggest gold deposits in a mine in the world,” Mantashe told Reuters. “Going for job cuts is the easy way out. The real problem is poor management.”
South Deep has faced operational obstacles in a tough geological setting 3 km (2 miles) below the surface and has lost 4 billion rand ($284 million) over the past five years. The mine west of Johannesburg, which has been beset by problems as the company has tried to mechanise the operation, employs around 3,600 full-time workers and 1,900 contractors.