Impala Platinum reports strike at Bafokeng operations

Platinum Mining Target Says Takeover Battle Damages Operations
Credit: Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd.

South Africa’s Impala Platinum on Tuesday reported a strike at part of its recently acquired Bafokeng operations in Rustenburg, which it said mostly involves contractors demanding permanent positions.

“Impala Platinum is closely monitoring an illegal work stoppage, which began on Thursday 27 June 2024, at the North Shaft of Impala Bafokeng’s BRPM operation in the North West province,” the miner said in a statement.

The company said it had obtained a court order against the job boycott. “The longer-term impact of this illegal strike poses a risk to sustainable employment, particularly given Impala Bafokeng’s recent underperformance,” Impala said.

Impala acquired the assets of smaller producer Royal Bafokeng Platinum last year following a protracted battle with Northam Platinum.

The group and its South African platinum group metal-producing peers Anglo American Platinum and Sibanye Stillwater, facing their worst crisis in decades, are cutting thousands of jobs to contain costs after metal prices plunged last year.

Prices of platinum – mostly used by automakers to curb toxic emissions – fell sharply amid concerns over weak global economic growth and destocking by manufacturers who built up inventories during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Impala has said it could cut 3,900 jobs as it restructures its South African operations, while Anglo American Platinum plans to lay off 3,700 workers.

On Tuesday, Sibanye Stillwater said it had reduced its workforce by 14% from 81,500 employees at the end of 2022 to just over 70,000 currently through a combination of layoffs, natural attrition, a hiring freeze and a review of contractor arrangements.

(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Jan Harvey)


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