Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine restructuring to put 3,000 jobs at risk

Kloof is an intermediate to ultra-deep level gold mine, situated he towns of Randfontein and Westonaria. (Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater.)

Precious metals miner Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE: SSW)(NYSE: SBSW) will enter talks with labour unions over a possible restructuring at one of its South African gold mines, it said on Thursday.

The potential restructuring of the struggling Kloof 4 shaft, where operations were halted on August 1 following an incident that damaged infrastructure, could impact almost 3,000 people.

Negotiations with workers and other stakeholders come after numerous unsuccessful attempts to address productivity issues and other operational constraints at Kloof 4 shaft. These included seismicity and cooling constraints, associated with the chilled water reticulation circuit, which together have contributed to sustained losses even at recent high gold prices, the South African miner said.

“We will engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses,” executive vice president Richard Cox said in the statement.

The parties will “consider measures to avoid and mitigate possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to the potential cessation or downscaling of operations,” Sibanye said.

Almost 10,500 people work at the Kloof mine, according to the company’s website, but possible changes at the operation would only affect 2,389 employees and 581 contractors.

Kloof 4 shaft produces more than 115,000 ounces of gold a year.