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Massive job losses loom in mining sector

Mining companies are reviewing their operations which could lead to massive job losses.

Mining jobs could be at stake as different companies review their operations.

RUSTENBURG - Thousands of Anglo Platinum (Amplats) miners have reacted to news that they may lose their jobs by starting another unprotected strike.

Amplats announced its review that will see it close four shafts and sell its Union mine on Tuesday.

It also revealed that 14,000 jobs could be lost due to the restructuring.

Government and unions have criticised the move to restructure, saying this would hinder the progress made in the fight against poverty.

The Amplats workers committee has since been mobilising employees for a planned strike to bring the company to its knees.

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num)'s Lesiba Seshoka has pleaded with miners not to strike in order to try and retain their jobs.

"Don't do anything that will damage what we intend to do with the employer."

Meanwhile the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)'s president Joseph Mathunjwa said they will heed their members' advice on what to do next.

"We will have a meeting with our members and we will be guided by them."

Amplats confirmed on Tuesday night that some miners had already started to gather at the different shafts.

Private mine security have been deployed to protect the company's assets.

RETRENCHMENTS

A spate of mass retrenchments is believed to be looming in the mining sector as companies restructure their operations due to wildcat strikes.

Production at Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville has also been suspended indefinitely as management reviews the safety conditions .

Harmony Gold's Marian van der Walt said 6,000 workers might face job losses, if the security situation is not resolved.

"If we can't reach an agreement, unfortunately that means that we close the mine."

Meanwhile, the ANC said Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu needs to meet with all mines that are considering restructuring to review the future of their mining licenses.

The party's Jesse Duarte said Shabangu must revoke companies' mining licenses, where companies own mines that are no longer operational.

"They should be willing to give up the licenses of mine shafts in mine areas where they are closing mines, so that other people who are interested in mining in South Africa may do so."