'Drastic shakeup at Amplats expected'

It is believed Amplats might restructure its SA operations, which could lead to massive job losses.

It is believed Amplats might restructure its SA operations, which could lead to massive job losses. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's largest platinum producer, is believed to be considering restructuring its South African operations, which could lead to massive job losses.

The company issued a profit warning on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Monday, prompting speculation about the future of its platinum mines in the North West.

Amplats said the profit warning was partly a result of the two-month-long illegal strike for higher wages in 2012.

Frans Baleni, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said they had reliably learnt that Amplats was planning massive downsizing of its South African operations.

"A review of Amplats has resulted in a decision to close some of the shafts. We also have a sense that they might be selling some of their assets around Rustenburg."

Mining analyst Peter Major said the downsizing was expected due to the current state of the platinum industry.

"It is an industry that has actually gotten too big for what the market is and they have to cut their overheads, which means decreasing the number of shafts, and probably even mines."

Amplats is expected to announce the radical restructuring this week, which could include the sale of their Union Mine in Limpopo.