Amplats closes shafts, 14 000 jobs to go

2013-01-15 08:49

Johannesburg - Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS], the world's top platinum producer, said it will indefinitely close four of its shafts in South Africa's platinum belt and sell its Union mine, as part of a sweeping reorganisation of its struggling business. 

The company also said in a strategic review released on Tuesday the reshuffle will lead to 14 000 job cuts, which it hopes to eventually replace with a similar number of new positions. 

The review, seen as crucial to the flagging fortunes of Anglo American [JSE:AGL], which owns about 80% of Amplats, had widely been expected to lead to at least some shaft closures due to soaring costs and falling profits.

Amplats said on Monday it likely fell to a full-year loss because of costly strikes.

But closures could risk a new wave of labour unrest, with the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union threatening to close operations like it did last year if the review leads to shutdowns and job losses.

Amplats said it would "divest the union mines at the right time - to maximise value under different ownership". Reuters reported on Monday Amplats was likely to sell Union. 

"Four unsustainable, high-cost shafts, namely Khuseleka 1 and 2 and Khomanani 1 and 2, will be put on long-term care and maintenance," it said.

As a result, about 400 000 ounces would be taken out of its production profile, which could help the price of the white metal, which hit a three-month high on Tuesday on South African supply concerns. 

Shares of Amplats were flat in early trade on Tuesday, dipping in and out of negative territory as investors digested news the platinum producer would indefinitely close four of its South Africa shafts and sell its Union mine. 

Amplats was up 0.6% at R493.98 at 07:08 GMT, compared to a 0.14% rise in the benchmark Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index.

  • yolanda.r.haripersad - 2013-01-15 09:05

    Thank you unions...

      bennie.kruger.5 - 2013-01-15 09:09

      Watch them Strike now because there is no more Jobs !!

      Rooinek007 - 2013-01-15 09:31

      @bennie. How can they strike if they dont have a job?

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2013-01-15 09:35

      They are masters at screwing things up but useless at anything else. They are like parasites, their only purpose is to infect and destroy their hosts

      deon.louw.7505 - 2013-01-15 09:44

      Some people seems to be professional strikers / rent a striker and is not even employed by anyone.

      carl.fourie.9 - 2013-01-15 09:51

      Well it was just a matter of time. The unions were warned that their continuous demands for higher salaries cannot be sustained. The problem is fix costs and salaries are a major contibutor. So much for their thinking and vision and the ANC wants to create jobs. WTF...people are to loose their jobs and it could have been avoided. It is time the goverment take a stand and try to that you cannot continue to pay wages well above inflation rates and simultaneously have piss poor productivity. If it was not for the higher metal prices our GDP would taken a serious knock. The mining industry encounters high production costs and all role players must start to realize that strikes and work stopages are costly and productivity is low which has a major impact on unit costs. Try and get that into their thick skulls...

  • heini.botes - 2013-01-15 09:06

    Excellent News! Bite the hand that feeds you!! On a more serious note, more jobless, more crime, more dependent on grants etc! Bleak indeed, Is it not enough already that 5.5mil tax payers must already look after 45mil+??

  • surfing.sam.9 - 2013-01-15 09:07

    But,, but ,,, but the strike was for higher wages, not job losses. The mind boggles.

      zondra.hoffmann - 2013-01-15 10:11

      The Union Bosses who organise the strike never tell them what the consequences may be, and they cannot even think that far. They are like lambs being led to the slaughter because they do as they are told!

  • linda.duits - 2013-01-15 09:07

    It's not only going to be that many jobs, this is going to have serious repercussions, what about the suppliers of materials to the mines, the contractors that do work there and everybody else like the local communities. But tell that to the unions!

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2013-01-15 09:07

    Such action was to be expected, wasn't it? Striking seldom gets you anywhere.

  • bennie.kruger.5 - 2013-01-15 09:07

    *Just Loving it* - Lets see you maaifoedies strike some more !!!

  • brandon.faber.908 - 2013-01-15 09:10

    AND LET THAT BE A NICE HARD LESSON FOR YOU IDIOTS IN THE UNIONS. Eventually business will just say "**** you" and close because it's no longer sustainable. NO JOBS. U N D E R S T A N D?

      Delene Labuschagne - 2013-01-15 09:22

      i feel sorry 4 the ppl who never wanted or was part of the strikes, there families will now suffer because of blood thirsty animals

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2013-01-15 11:47

      Delene - I do agree and also feel sorry for them, however they should have stood up for themselves, only once this starts to happen can this country finally move forward.

  • wynandjsmit - 2013-01-15 09:10

    Fantastic! Wonderful!

      james.whyte.104 - 2013-01-15 11:30

      And what is so fantastic about it?

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-15 14:41

      @wynandjsmit What about the innocent people that didn't strike like the engineers, blast masters, managers, office personnel etc?

  • tanya.m.devries - 2013-01-15 09:11

    So mines closing because of the strikes, therefore job losses. Now they want to strike again because mines need to close. Welcome to Africa!! Strike strike strike. Reality check - be happy when you've got a job and if you get a salary, whether you think you're worth more or not. A job in South Africa these days is a privilege, not a right. If you think you need to be paid more, get yourself another job!

      Erna - 2013-01-15 10:18

      Couldn't agree with you more. And don't jeopardise your current job, till you have a new job! How many people work in jobs that they aren't entirely happy in, both with circumstances and salary, but we carry on because that's what we do - we live within our means.

      zondra.hoffmann - 2013-01-15 10:22

      Well said Tanya de Vries.

  • hayley.fredericks.9 - 2013-01-15 09:12

    Let them torch their unions' buildings now. Fat load of good they did for these workers. Now they are all out of jobs and 14,000 less union fees are going to be paid these morons who clearly cannot think long term.

  • marcus.vermaak - 2013-01-15 09:12

    How much do I feel for those workers, nothing. Oh and good luck finding more work with that awesome CV that states you like to strike. Have yourself a very good 2013.

  • johan.vanheerden.12 - 2013-01-15 09:13

    Oh I'm loving this. Hope the farmworkers are watching,this is what happen when you just demand without reasoning

      mofstok - 2013-01-15 09:21

      I think you're hoping for a bit much there. They don't give a hoot, if their demands are not met they strike...even if it means that they lose their jobs. Utter fools.

      cranky.cherry - 2013-01-15 09:49

      Johan I'm whith you on this one. The only thing that bothers me is that the striking farmworkers will torch the farms, and in turn that would definitly have an impact on food production. Thus creating Job losses, importing of food etc.

      Erna - 2013-01-15 10:21

      If there's one thing I've discovered about certain people - they don't think about the future. They act now, and think the future will take care of itself. I've got news for them, it doesn't! But then it I suppose it depends what quality of life you are used to and want to keep.

      hugo.mcdonald.7 - 2013-01-15 12:43

      Well...I'm sure that there will be a few miners willing to work for min wage on a farm once the mines close....

  • Sean.Nefdt - 2013-01-15 09:14

    Good Time for government to buy the mine and really show how Nationalization is supposed to work , Come on guys here is an a opportunity for you guys :)

      neiljvv - 2013-01-15 09:36

      Now Malema can go and work for the new Government mine as head of HR.

      michael.tetley.35 - 2013-01-15 09:48

      As long as they don't use taxpayer money. Maybe their bosses in Beijing would like to make a "strings attached" donation. See how well the unions do then with Chinese owners and bosses from the workers paradise calling the shots.

      DrGonzoSA - 2013-01-15 10:03

      They'll pay everybody R16,000 a month and everything will be fine. Except the taxpayer, who will be expected to foot the bill for loss making operations

      cwboshoff - 2013-01-15 12:44

      Agreed, ideal time for a test-run on nationalization, let them try and we'll sit back and watch them fail!

  • wikus.erasmus.545 - 2013-01-15 09:14

    You reap what you sow...

  • vierkleur.transvaal - 2013-01-15 09:16

    Please vote ANC again! hahaha Same will happen on the farms.

      Blixum - 2013-01-15 09:56

      Jip. You're right. The farmers will also soon cry: enough is enough. And what will they eat then? Walky talkies.LOL

      Erna - 2013-01-15 10:24

      The farmers will go and farm in the rest of Africa where they are wanted and cared for.

  • lekkeperd.chevyss - 2013-01-15 09:17

    This is Sad. Are the Stikers now Happy?

      cranky.cherry - 2013-01-15 09:54

      Yes they're happy now! Now all us tax paying citizens can take care of them.

  • susan.pretorius.31 - 2013-01-15 09:18

    And in the meantime old frogface is just worried that the mines dont share enough...

  • Daniel Mah - 2013-01-15 09:19

    that was coming - its called cost saving. must we embrace ourselves for another strike

  • darryl.maze1 - 2013-01-15 09:22

    Well done unions. You just cost alot of members their jobs. Dont even try to blame apartheid or the mining sector. Its was because of your stupidity. How can a mine make profit to pay worker when you make them go on strike?? BAN THESE UNIONS!!! THEY DO MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD.

      zondra.hoffmann - 2013-01-15 10:33

      Margaret Thatcher discovered that many moons ago, but hey, our Government is in it's infancy, and it could take a while before the reality sinks in!!! Remember school children have been denied a proper education even after this was promised as a basic right, to keep them uninformed and illiterate, thus logic takes a while longer to come to the fore!!! The Union bosses are thriving - good salaries, luxury vehicles and homes - while the members are losing their jobs and what salary they eventually get!

  • daniel.rademan - 2013-01-15 09:26

    hmm pretty sure than not all 14000 who will loose thier jobs went on strike previously - must be a couple of hundred really hard working people who realy wanted to work and appreciated having a job that will now suffer - along with thier families

      djim.bie - 2013-01-15 09:37

      An injury to one is a injury to all-COSATU slogan showing it's true meaning here.

  • SARealist - 2013-01-15 09:28

    Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

      zondra.hoffmann - 2013-01-15 10:34

      SARealist - Bravo! This needs to be shouted from every rooftop!

  • afrikeni - 2013-01-15 09:31

    No problem, why can't the UNIONS & GOVERNMENT buy these mines and give employees the higher salary they demand. That will take care of the evil capitalist as Cosatu always say. Chicken, they won't do it!

  • jordaanjean - 2013-01-15 09:31

    This is how the government plans to nationalize mines. Force investors to flee in hordes and leave all the natural resources for them to plunder. They keep forgetting the tactics used by them to do this will bite them in the ass in the end. They are creating a monster that will consume them. The strikes and unreasonable wage demands will not stop when they are in control of the mines. Now with 14 000 people without jobs, we can expect an increase in the already high crime rates. We are just falling further and further into a welfare state.

      DrGonzoSA - 2013-01-15 10:06

      I dont think its how they want to nationalise, its how they want to get the mines into the hands of the chosen few. What they dont realise is that they will be inheriting a bunch of loss making operations which will need to be propped up by the taxpayer

      noeln.petzer - 2013-01-15 21:15 They will use slave labour to make a profit once the Politicians control everything ... Aurora was a first run ...

  • lydonmcg - 2013-01-15 09:33

    I shouldn't be, but I'm glad it's come to this. If unions want to play hard ball, resort to violence and threaten the national economy in the process, then they must suffer. This is what greed in the form of ridiculous wage increase demands gets you.

  • DrGonzoSA - 2013-01-15 09:33

    Well done everyone who supported the strikes, totally predictable end result

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2013-01-15 11:51

      Yeah, I notice that the hordes of people who were defending the strike last year are suddenly nowhere to be seen.

  • difa.mashwama - 2013-01-15 09:35

    where is Malema now to intervene in this situation because is better educated than Zuma. nop

      Bob - 2013-01-15 10:05

      He's too busy filling out his tax returns.

      Erna - 2013-01-15 10:38

      No, too busy laying charges against his ex best friends.

  • fly.onthewall.54 - 2013-01-15 09:39

    Let's hope these are the 14k illigal migrant workers from accross our borders. let the illigals go fight with thier Governments. Save SA jobs...

  • james.whyte.104 - 2013-01-15 09:46

    To all those that are cheering the fact that 4 shafts are being closed down and that the unions must learn a lesson from this. 14 000 workers at an average net salary of R6000 means that R84 000 000 a month is taken of circulation. That means R84 000 000 will not be spent and put back into circulation. The chain stores and other smaller retailers in the area will feel the pinch, lay off more of their own workers and a vicious cycle starts. I will most probably feel it in the less than expected return in my investments(RA's and provident funds)and am not happy with this. It is a sad state of affairs. Let us not only look at the unions but also at the owners of capital. A viable plan must be negotiated that benefits both parties and the country in the long term. It is not right to be pleased with the latest turn of events.

      james.whyte.104 - 2013-01-15 10:24


      Bob - 2013-01-15 10:41

      I think most people here have a grasp of basic economics. The thing is that the entire system is broken. The cheering that may occur was just wishful thinking that workers, unions and government may learn a lesson from this... but that's highly unlikely. Everyone loses when the banana republic is in full effect.

      susan.pretorius.31 - 2013-01-15 10:54

      Of course you are right James - every single one of us will be affected by this and all the other strikes still going on.And while our whole economy is going down the head clown of the circus is singing and dancing...

      james.whyte.104 - 2013-01-15 11:12

      Then if we criticize, let us put forward our own views on how to proceed. Who knows what idea might to the fore.

  • hudayfah.newman - 2013-01-15 09:48

    So let me get this right. After these strikes caused 14 000 job losses, the unions threatens to strike again which will have the same outcome? That must be a hollow container between their ears.

  • mstrato1 - 2013-01-15 09:51

    And what do the striking miner's have to say for themselves now? My heart bleeds for the innocent families that will have their breadwinners lose their jobs, sad times for SA.

  • denepaul - 2013-01-15 09:52

    What is really sad is that we all saw this coming except the stupid workers and there even stupider union reps. Now that the dust has settled who is going to feed these families. Had that not taken to the street to demand their rights they would still have a job. Unfortunately because we have a bunch of complete fools running the show this is only going to get worse. The farm labourers should listen and take note of this but unfortunately they will also feel the brunt shortly.

  • longfellow.walker - 2013-01-15 09:53

    This is a tragedy! This is a no win situation for everybody, All South Africans of ALL race groups, soon to be ex mineworkers, union bosses,government, you name it. It should be a wake-up call to government, if that is possible.

      DrGonzoSA - 2013-01-15 10:07

      Amplats share price is up 0.6% :-)

  • leonstoumann - 2013-01-15 09:53


  • Blixum - 2013-01-15 09:54

    Wow! What a way to start the new year! Thanks Cosatu and others. You now have four shafts that you can nationalise and add to your Chancellor House Company and Bathe Bathe trust assets. Enjoy.

  • John Badenhorst - 2013-01-15 09:54

    If a company is not profitable and then closes down, its staff then want to strike yet again????WTF?? its because of the original strikes that the mine is now in such a position...the strikers brought it upon themselves with ridiculous wage demands and holding our economy to ransom...

  • christiana.vespucci - 2013-01-15 09:57


  • nicholas.rix - 2013-01-15 10:01

    Perhaps we should print a few copies of this article and hand it out at De Doorns?

      linda.horsfield.77 - 2013-01-15 13:38

      why? the union reps dont care - and the workers are illiterate! The government has actively condoned illegal strikes and the acts of intimidation and violence perpetrated by strikers because they are afraid of losing votes if they a stop to it. Not once did the labour minister address the miners and tell them to stop their illegal strike or they would face losing their jobs and the closure of the mines. Not once has the department of labour fined or deregistered a union for orchestrating an illegal strike - or for causing untold damage during a legal but violent strike. The government are meant to the be the onces enforcing compliance with the laws - but because of their consistent failure to do so, and in fact actively fanning the flames of dissent by supporting illegal strikers they have contributed to the loss of at least 14 000 jobs - and hundreds of thousands more because other employers see the lawlessness in SA and invest their capital elsewhere. The department of labour needs to educate both union officials and workers that they are paid according to their productivity - and not how much money they need to feed their family. Once labour costs become too high in relation to productivity companies mechanise. As the majority of striking workers are either uneducated or ill educated they are mainly employed to perform manual labour so there are literally millions of people who can replace them - yet they demand to be paid as if they were providing scarce skills.

  • KCorsar - 2013-01-15 10:05

    a socialist ideal being fed by capitalist gains, it will never work! unions are a nuisance more than a help, especially when they have a socialist / communist ideology. Close the shafts, put thousands out of jobs, let government come up with a novel way of putting these shafts back into business (at tax payers cost) as some idiot within government will see this as a great idea...... Politicians should leave business alone, in the current crisis that faces SA, with skyrocketing unemployment, is a commercial business enviroment that encourages businesses like this to remain in business. AMPLATS will close due to strike action impact on production, threats of more taxes - so close now before having to face this in the future.

  • bbooyse - 2013-01-15 10:06

    Poetic Justice

  • stephen.redford.16 - 2013-01-15 10:06

    I wonder why government and unions can't see that when there are no profits there will be no jobs. Government needs to cut expenditure and eliminate income and companies tax to create jobs. Instead they increase taxes and pay for more government.

  • tony.becker.961 - 2013-01-15 10:07

    It is time that labour laws regarding strike action be reviewed. If a legal strike is called - then that strike/dispute must be settled within 5 days. Any damage to property as a result of the strike action (because they cannot seem to behave like normal people) must be billed to the union.

      Bob - 2013-01-15 10:27

      They already introduced legislation a year or 2 ago (I think it was soon after a rather violent municipal workers strike) that made unions liable for damages. The thing is that the law seldom takes its course in this country. I'm yet to hear of a union paying out damages.

  • zondra.hoffmann - 2013-01-15 10:08

    What did they expect would happen after chaos was caused every time they strike - which actually only means you down tools, not destroy everything in your way while doing this!! And the Union Bosses? They organise the "strikes", yet they have no problem with salaries - how come and who pays them? - and never lose their jobs!!!

  • vincegraig - 2013-01-15 10:10

    This is so bad and could lead to another Marikana massacre. Well the miners somehow brought all this upon themselves wth last year's strikes. I just worry about us Rock Engineers and Geologists.. Eish

  • nick.athinodorou - 2013-01-15 10:16

    Amplats should sell those mines to individuals from the Mandela and Zuma families so that workers may be well treated,protected and so on...oh wait..

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2013-01-15 10:26

    They will continue to pay resource rent though. These r our mineral resources afterall. You cant just sit on a mining shaft and do nothing. Use that shaft or let the chineese use it.

      piet.pompies.12 - 2013-01-15 10:34

      Thobile, the Chinese can buy them and then they will pay minimum wages, In my experience with the Chinese they do not support the government when it comes to maximum wages. Or Cosatu can buy the shafts and give the 14 000 people their jobs back with maximum pay.

      Erna - 2013-01-15 10:50

      Yes let the Chinese buy the mines. The workers will get even less pay, worse living conditions, and no right to strike.

      timothy.tanzer.5 - 2013-01-15 10:56

      hahaha... if you think the Chinese will save you... The Chinese will ship in their own Chinese workers because they can pay them $1 a day... you have no grasp of the Chinese.

      DrGonzoSA - 2013-01-15 11:21

      Yes, let the chinese bring in their own workers, own equipment, own food, own fuel, take the minerals and contribute nothing to the local economies, great idea

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-15 14:43

      Yes Thobile, go and work under Chinese management as a miner, tough luck striking...

  • terence.wessels - 2013-01-15 10:29

    Good stuff Amplats. Business can not be held hostage by militant uneducated easily replaced workers. Shut down. Now no more jobs fools. Keep doing it and they will close more. Bet they do because the stupidity of these guys is endless. Watch this space, agriculture will cut thousands of precious jobs soon too.....

  • Hlabirwa Mokone Junior - 2013-01-15 10:36

    I wont shed a tear for those who contributed to this job blood bath, through the wildcat strikes. I'm, however, sad for all those who will be negatively affected by the cuts (mining suppliers, retailers, transporters, etc). Leaders are playing politics with the futures of this country i.e. Blade's response to Zille's request for National Government's help. as for nationalization, government has no business in business, it should create an environment for business to prosper i.e. educating workers and the unions about the basics of strikes, production, free-market economy, commodities markets, profit, loss, investing, etc. To the nationalization fans, that's a dumb idea that'll wont work, call me a self-hating black if u can.

  • Brian Dorning - 2013-01-15 11:17

    Agric sector is next! I want to hear what the trade unions are going to say about this? Cosatu and NUM should be held accountable and charged for ruining these workers lives and costing business major losses! Margaret Thatcher is needed in SA!

  • Judy - 2013-01-15 11:21

    "VALUE UNDER DIFFERENT OWNERSHIP"? .... what is that? Nationalisation with another name?

  • mart.botha - 2013-01-15 11:35

    Union Mine will be sold to the Chinese who are already ready to mine with their own labour. If you doubt this for one second....visit Angola. The Government will offer these 'investors' protection and allow them to import their own security (Red Army in the guise of security) a la Zimbabwe. Impimpi/Sellouts.

  • pages:
  • 1
  • 2