Sibanye Gold could axe 3 000

2013-04-02 12:45

Sibanye Gold may fire up to 3?000 mineworkers at its Beatrix mine in the Free State after an underground fire tipped the marginal gold mine into a serious loss-making situation.

The mining company, which recently spun off from Gold Fields, today issued a Section 189 notice to unions after already warning them last week that 3?000 of the mine’s 9?000 jobs are potentially on the line.

The affected part of the mine, Beatrix West, has always been marginal since it started life as the Oryx mine in 1993.

The initial capital of R2.6?billion has never been fully recovered, Sibanye said in an announcement this morning.

An underground fire started on February 19 and has now made crucial sections of the mine inaccessible until “at least the end of June 2014”.

Not only has the fire cost the group gold production, but it is now impeding further development work underground.

Franz Stehring of the union UASA told City Press that unions were notified of the imminent 189 notice on Thursday last week.

The figure of 3?000 was mentioned then.

Sibanye was asked to involve the CCMA in negotiations from the start, says Stehring.

Lesiba Seshoka, spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, says they have not yet received the notice.

According to Sibanye the department of mineral resources will also take part in talks to assess “the options available for the operation”.

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