AngloGold Ashanti may axe up to 8,500 jobs at South African mines

World number three gold miner AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) (JSE:ANG) may cut about 8,500 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, at its South African operations, adding it also plans to halt some unprofitable mines.

As part of the changes, it intends to place its Kopanang mine and the Savuka section of the TauTona mine on care-and-maintenance.

Talks with unions over the looming restructuring aimed at “protecting the viability” of the company’s South African business over the long-term have already begun, AngloGold said in a statement.

As part of the upcoming changes, the gold producer intends to place its Kopanang mine and the Savuka section of the TauTona mine on care-and-maintenance, both a clear example of the challenges AngloGold is facing in its home country —rising costs and depleted ore reserves.

The two operations had all-in sustaining costs in the first quarter of $1,737 and $2,399 an ounce respectively, following significant operating losses through 2016, the company noted.

The news didn’t take the company’s shareholders by surprise said earlier this year it would it would review its South African gold-mining operations in light of hefty and “unsustainable” losses they have incurred.

While the announcement wasn’t totally unexpected, the company’s shares suffered with it and were down 1.5% to $10.27 in New York early trading, while they plummeted more than 3% in Johannesburg to 13,376 rand in late afternoon trading.