Ben Magara: 12 600 Lonmin jobs depend on Sibanye deal

Johannesburg – Unless its transaction with Sibanye-Stillwater is completed soon, platinum miner Lonmin [JSE:LON] is set to retrench about 12 600 workers between 2018 and 2020.

CEO Ben Magara said "given the current exchange rate strengthening, we could actually end up accelerating more job losses if the transaction is delayed in any form".

Sibanye-Stillwater [JSE:SGL] filed a submission to the Competition Commission to consider its proposed acquisition of Lonmin in March.

Magara said 2 000 jobs have already been lost, and a total of 1 700 are still to be shed in 2018. 

In 2019 about 5 300 jobs will be cut, with 3 600 retrenchments on the cards in 2020. These jobs will be lost in Lonmin's stand-alone business regardless of consolidation.

In 2017 Lonmin placed its operations in its Generation 1 shafts under maintenance, namely Newman and 1B. In March 2018 it also placed the East 2 shaft under maintenance. 

Magara said 50% of job cuts were due to redundancy, and the other 50% would be shed because of the shutdown of shafts.

Lonmin chief financial officer Barrie van der Merwe said each employee would get a severance package of about R200 000.

The group expects the transaction to be finalised by the second half of 2018. 

Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations in Rustenburg are adjacent to those of Lonmin, so its proposed acquisition of Lonmin geographically makes sense, Magara said. He said it would provide opportunities for mineral mining across mine boundaries.

Lonmin released its unaudited production results for the three months ended March 31 2018 on Monday morning.

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