Sibanye scraps planned closure of loss-making South African mines

South African precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) said Monday it has decided not to close some of its platinum operations in South Africa, as it has achieved bigger than expected cost-savings from recently acquired businesses.

The miner, South Africa’s largest gold producer and the world’s third largest producer of palladium and platinum, had warned in January that it might cut up to 330 jobs in the mines acquired from Anglo American Platinum and Aquarius Platinum.

Sibanye had said in January it might cut up to 330 jobs in platinum operations acquired from Anglo American Platinum and Aquarius Platinum.

In August, it also said it would restructure its loss-making Beatrix West and Cooke operations, a move that was expected to affect 7,400 of its employees.

Since then, however, the company’s platinum group metals (PGM) operations have delivered "solid operational results" in the first-half of 2017, Sibanye-Stillwater said. This has prompted an upward revision to its 2017 production forecast and a downward revision to guided costs, it noted.

"While we anticipate further opportunities to reduce costs and unlock operational synergies over time, the South African PGM operations are now well positioned to benefit from firmer PGM prices," CEO Neal Froneman said in the statement.

The miner, which conducted a $1 billion rights issue earlier this year, halted dividend in August for the first time since it was spun off from Gold Fields in 2013, after reporting losses for the first half of the year and rising debt levels.