Impala Platinum Plans to Cut 1,600 South Africa Mining Jobs

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Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, plans to cut as many as 1,600 jobs at its Rustenburg operations in South Africa as the prices have fallen to six-year lows.

Workers at the Rustenburg Lease mine, northwest of Johannesburg, were handed notices about the personnel cuts on Wednesday, spokesman Johan Theron said by phone on Thursday.

Chief Executive Officer Terence Goodlace said on Sept. 3. that the company was considering closing one shaft and sections of another operation at the mine, the world’s largest.

“We have now started that process,” Theron said. Impala employed 55,840 people at the end of its 2014 fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Platinum producers in South Africa, which holds more than 70 percent of global reserves, are cutting staff, delaying capital expenditure and closing operations as prices plunged to levels near the lowest since 2009. Earnings were also hit by a five-month strike last year.

Lonmin Plc, the third-largest producer, is planning as many as 6,000 job cuts, while Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the largest, said in June as many as 420 managerial and supervisory positions may be eliminated. Atlatsa Resources Corp. plans to trim its workforce at the Bokoni mine in northern Limpopo province by 500, or 10 percent of all employees, spokeswoman Prudence Lebina said by phone on Thursday. Amplats, as the Anglo American unit is known, is Atlatsa’s partner at Bokoni.

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