Amplats confirms job cuts

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's biggest platinum producer, is to begin laying off an estimated 6,000 workers in South Africa on September 1.

Chris Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American Platinum, said "We are at a critical stage of the process and this restructuring will be a crucial step to enable us to return to profitability and to focus capital allocations on our mines that are best placed to sustain the business and create employment opportunities over the long term."

"A month`s notice period for affected employees will commence on 1 September. We are very aware of the impact this process has on our employees and we are working hard to finalise the details of our Social Impact Mitigation Plan aimed at minimising the impact on employees and affected communities."

"The implementation of our proposals will help us create stability for the business and we look forward to working constructively with all our key stakeholders during this time for the benefit of all. Once we have restructured the business, we expect to be in a better position to provide more secure employment for our employees and add the much needed value to all our key stakeholders."

The plan, initially put forward in May this year, comes after talks with the government and unions.

Amplats - one of several major international mining companies that have been rocked by labour unrest - had first proposed around 14,000 job cuts. The firm, which accounts for almost 40 percent of global platinum sales, said it will aim for production of 2.2 to 2.4 million platinum ounces per year.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka was "shocked" by the news.

"We are shocked. Our agreement with Amplats was to cut 3,000 jobs and those jobs would not be forced retrenchments but voluntary severance packages. This agreement was reached a week ago," he said.

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