Today's Labour News

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miners2BusinessLive reports that in unusually frank comments from gold and platinum mining CEOs at the Joburg Indaba mining conference, the future of those sectors was mapped out in just a few minutes, with bleak consequences for their workforces.  

Industry veterans and top CEOs, Nico Muller (Implats) and Peter Steenkamp (Harmony Gold) outlined a future without new deep-level, conventionally operated, labour-intensive mines.  Muller and Steenkamp were unflinching in their appraisal of their respective sectors, either ruling out any new deep-level shafts in platinum or calling the end of SA’s once world-dominant gold sector — with just a tiny handful of mines still operating in a decade.  Employment in the gold sector dived to 112,000 last year from nearly 400,000 jobs in 1994 as production plunged from 583 tons over the same period to 138 tons.  The number of jobs could fall below 50,000 if there are just a few big gold mines left in a decade.  The single most crippling factor for SA’s deep-level mines in gold and platinum has been runaway cost increases, well ahead of inflation, which have eroded profit margins and forced hefty restructuring at mines in both commodities in recent years.  It is said to be much more difficult to extrapolate what the slowing of deep-level mine investment would have on employment in platinum, especially if companies actively chase and develop shallow, mechanised mines in SA and Zimbabwe.

  • Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

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