Sibanye reduces planned job cuts after deferring shaft closure

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Sibanye Stillwater SSWJ.J on Friday said it had "significantly reduced" the number of job losses from the restructuring of its South African platinum group metal (PGM) operations after deferring the closure of one of its mature shafts.

South African PGM miners produce around 70% of global mined platinum output from some of the world's oldest and deepest mines, which are expensive to operate. They are restructuring unprofitable production after a steep fall in PGM prices.

Sibanye said in a statement that about 2,000 workers had left the company through voluntary separation, early retirement and termination, fewer than the potential 4,095 job cuts the miner announced last October as it embarked on restructuring its four loss-making shafts.

Some 467 workers had also been removed from the payroll due to natural attrition since September 2023, the miner said.

As a result of consultations held with various parties including labour unions, Sibanye will continue operating the 4 Belt (4B) shaft at Marikana on condition that it does not run up net losses on a monthly basis. The shaft currently employs 1,496 permanent workers and 54 contractors.

Two other shafts, Rowland and Siphumelele, which have experienced operational and geological challenges, "have been repositioned for sustainable levels of production at a lower cost structure", Sibanye said.

The Simunye shaft, which ceased production in 2023, has been closed.

Sibanye has forecast a 91% fall in annual profit for 2023 due to the decline in PGM prices. Peer Anglo American Platinum AMSJ.J has announced plans to cut 3,700 jobs after its profit plunged 71% last year, while Impala Platinum IMPJ.J is also offering voluntary job cuts to workers.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

((Nelson.Banya@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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