Zimplats to offer voluntary job cuts after platinum price rout

Credit: Zimplats

Impala Platinum’s Zimbabwe unit Zimplats said on Wednesday it is offering voluntary job cuts in a bid to protect the business from the impact of a sharp fall in platinum group metal (PGM) prices.

Zimplats did not say how many of the 8,000 permanent and contract jobs were targeted under the planned cuts.

The company, which swung to a rare $8.8 million loss in the six months to December 2023, from a $159.6 million profit previously, said it was “critically reviewing its business” amid declining metal prices.

“Regrettably, labour optimisation initiatives must be implemented urgently to secure the business, and the bulk of jobs in the company,” Zimplats said in a statement.

Southern African PGM miners, including Zimplats’ parent company Impala, Sibanye Stillwater and Anglo American Platinum, have scrambled to cut costs and thousands of jobs after profits slumped as metal prices plunged over the past year due to weak auto production and concerns about a global economic slowdown.

Zimbabwe’s other PGM mines, Unki mine, owned by Anglo American Platinum, and Mimosa, a joint venture between Impala and Sibanye Stillwater, are also implementing job cuts.

Mimosa has also halted its $100 million North Hill expansion project, while Impala, which announced a 10-year $1.8 billion expansion project at Zimplats in 2021, is deferring long term schemes such as sulphur abatement and renewable energy.

Tharisa Plc has delayed by a year the commissioning of its $361 million Karo platinum mine in Zimbabwe, which was scheduled for June 2024, due to the low metal prices.

(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Ros Russell)


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