Anglo American recently announced that it would be shedding more than half of its global workforce over the next few years. South Africa, as the historic home of the mining company, is set to bear the brunt of these cuts.
At the end of 2014, Anglo American employed roughly 72,000 South Africans, which represented just under half of the miner’s global workforce. Anglo American Platinum Ltd, which is majority owned by Anglo American but listed as a separate entity in Johannesburg, accounted for 49,763 of that number.
Anglo American commented that most of the job reductions will be connected to asset sales as the group adjusts to weather the recent commodities slump. The miner is also considering selling coal-based assets.
Chief Executive Mark Cutifani recently commented that South Africa “still remains our highest returning jurisdiction across the globe. We will continue to manage those challenges going forward, but it will be a relatively lower footprint.”
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) had already planned to sell its Union mine and is in talks to exit joint ventures that operate its Pandora and Bokoni mines. Current restructuring plans at the Bokoni facility are expected to lead to 2,500 job losses including employees and contractors.
At the end of last year, the mining sector employed about 5.5 percent of South Africa’s entire workforce; minerals make up almost 60 percent of the country’s exports.
Platinum mining in the country is facing numerous challenges wage negotiations and greatly increased energy prices as Eskom struggles to maintain capacity. The recent downturn in platinum prices has only exacerbated these issues.