Johannesburg – Unions say mine workers are being "dumped" following the closure of Pan African Resources' [JSE: PAN] Evander 8 Shaft.
In a note to shareholders on May 2, Pan African Resources said the closure at Evander had been confirmed, resulting in the retrenchment of about 1 700 employees.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) national spokesperson, Livhuwani Mammburu, said the union tried to engage with Pan African Resources, but the discussions were unsuccessful.
According to Mammburu, the closure of Evander 8 Shaft was a “deliberate act”, and the company has invested billions in another project that includes mine tailings.
“Workers are being dumped,” Mammburu said.
The employees are being told to move out of the hostels around the mining community, he added.
“Out of 1 812 employees, 1 722 employees will be retrenched by the end of May,” Mammburu said. The job losses would have a significant impact on the mining industry, Mammburu added.
Pan African Resources, however, denied this. In a note to shareholders, the group said a review of the shaft had been done and there was "no realistic prospect of mining on a sustainable and profitable basis from this operation in the current weak rand gold price environment".
"The outcome of this process is regrettably that the current underground mining at Evander 8 Shaft will cease and the affected employees will be retrenched."
CEO Cobus Loots said it was not "factually correct" that workers were being dumped.
"The company has and continues to engage with the recognised [unions] as well as with representatives of the non-unionised employees on this matter. No decision has been taken as the company endeavours to find a mutually acceptable outcome in this regard."
Loots said the retrenched workers would be given opportunities to reskill themselves. The group said they were also looking at "identifying employment opportunities" for retrenched employees, at the new Elikhulu Tailings Retreatment Plant.
Pan African Resources shares were trading at R1.17 per share on Thursday morning at 13:34, down 1.68%.
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