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Sibanye's Marikana restructuring retrenches 1,142 jobs

Dual-listed Sibanye Gold Ltd., operating as Sibanye-Stillwater, said 1,142 jobs would be retrenched as part of a restructuring at its struggling South African Marikana platinum group metals operation, acquired from Lonmin PLC in 2019.

In addition to the retrenched employees, the number of contractors were also reduced by 1,709, while 1,612 employees accepted voluntary separation packages, 53 retired and 259 jobs were cut through natural attrition.

The company had announced in September that 5,270 jobs were at risk at Marikana. Sibanye concluded the Section 189 process after a three-month review of the operations.

As part of the restructuring efforts at Marikana, Sibanye decided limited mining, sweeping and reclamation would continue at Shaft 1B and a specific sweeping and vamping project until the end of December provided that the projects remain profitable on a three-month average period. This resulted in the preservation of 329 jobs, Sibanye said.

Froneman said they were pleased with the outcome of consultations with stakeholders, which despite the closure of end of life shafts had resulted in the preservation of a number of jobs.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers, however, told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the final tally was still too high.

"We objected to this merger from the beginning because of the job losses we knew were coming, and it won't stop here let me tell you there will continue to be retrenchments," said AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa. "This is not just about the interests of a company, if workers are not employed it has a social impact and affects the economy as they have no money to spend."

AMCU, the platinum sector's largest union in South Africa, appealed unsuccessfully against the competition body's approval of the merger between Sibanye and Lonmin. The competition authority imposed a six-month moratorium on retrenchments which ended Dec. 7, according to the company.

NUM president Joseph Montisetsi said the union was still in consultation with Sibanye regarding NUM members who are affected, adding that he anticipated further retrenchments resulting from the merger.