Platinum mines plot mass retrenchments

SOUTH African-owned and other mining groups in Zimbabwe will lay off employees to rationalise costs in the next few months, despite platinum, gold and nickel registering growth during the first quarter of the current year.

Striking mine workers gather outside the Anglo American Mine on October 5, 2012 in Rustenburg. South African police on October 5 recovered the body of a miner killed in clashes with striking workers at the platinum mine, as President Jacob Zuma appealed for an end to months of often violent industrial disputes. Miners said the man was killed late on October 4 when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a group of illegal strikers from the mine. Some 28,000 workers have been on a strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's top platinum producer, since September 12, demanding higher wages. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN        (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Striking mine workers gather outside the Anglo American Mine on October 5, 2012 in Rustenburg. South African police on October 5 recovered the body of a miner killed in clashes with striking workers at the platinum mine, as President Jacob Zuma appealed for an end to months of often violent industrial disputes. Miners said the man was killed late on October 4 when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a group of illegal strikers from the mine. Some 28,000 workers have been on a strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s top platinum producer, since September 12, demanding higher wages. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Anglo Platinum’s Unki Mine, Impala Platinum’s Zimplats, Sibanye Gold, whose bid for Aquarius Platinum is almost complete, and Metallon Gold are among the South African mining groups with a heavy presence in Zimbabwe.

They are set to face intense wage negotiations back at home in the coming few weeks and have just completed annual wage talks in Zimbabwe.

Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe CEO Isaac Kwesu said on Tuesday that miners will continue to seek wage rationalisation.

Batsirai Manhando, CEO of Bindura Nickel Corporation said the nickel miner will also effect retrenchments.

“All mining houses are trying to vary the costs rationalisation but labour is the most intense and companies will either seek to reduce working hours or laying off,” said Kwesu.

Manhando said the nickel miner would also focus on reducing costs and conceded that “there will be some retrenchments along the process”.

The retrenchments will affect both senior management positions and general workers in the mining industry which could spark disputes with mine workers unions that have just completed a wage rise settlement for 2016.

The chamber of mines said on Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s mining industry “has recorded negative growth in the past two years”.

However, during the first quarter period to the end of March, the miners “recorded robust performance, with all major minerals recording increases in volumes produced”.

Platinum registered a 43% growth, gold rose by 21% and nickel surged by 10% during the first quarter period.

The chamber of mines estimates that Zimbabwean gold producers will produce as much as 24 tonnes of the metal this year and about 17 tonnes of platinum.

However, the industry was facing “systematic challenges such as lower prices although gold and platinum prices have started to rise.

“We have our own unique circumstances; expensive and scarce capital and power. Even though the power supply situation has improved, we anticipate it to remain fragile,” said Kwesu.

He added that on the policy side, there have been encouraging developments but the miners are expecting more give-ins from the government in terms of royalties, taxes and policy positions such as indigenisation and the export framework.

The government is also reportedly spearheading legislation to have all minerals marketed through a state owned entity.

Local gold miners are already required to sell their bullion through Fidelity Printers, a unit of the central bank

 

National Pledge: NGOs, churches march
UK: Man denies murder after knifing Ex

Post published in: Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *