THE blood bath of job losses in the mining industry continued on Monday, with an announcement by Sibanye Gold that about 1,700 jobs were at risk at its Cooke 4 gold and uranium mine near Westonaria.
The mining industry has cut about 47,000 jobs between 2012 and 2015 and analysts believe it could shed another 32,000 in 2016. Most of the job losses have been in the gold, platinum and coal sectors, which have been battered by weak prices and rising costs.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the majority union at Cooke 4, called on Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to intervene to halt job losses. It said each mine worker supported about 10 other people and the union would fight to ensure its members “are not retrenched cheaply”.
Sibanye’s shares had gained 3.37% to R58.24 by early afternoon on Monday, as the market welcomed the news.
This was despite a 0.8% drop in the gold price to $1,354/oz and a 0.8% strengthening of the rand against the dollar, to R14.43 from R14.60 earlier. South African gold miners benefit from a weaker rand as their costs are incurred in the local currency but their revenue is earned in dollars.
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