Amplats restructuring pays off

The platinum firms says it's beginning to see the returns from its restructuring.

The Amplats mine in Rustenburg. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Executive Director of Anglo American in South Africa says they are starting to see returns from the restructuring of the company's platinum operations.

Government intervened last year after the company announced that some 14,000 jobs would be affected.

But after talks with the Labour and the Mineral Resources departments, the company was able to reduce the number of workers who ultimately lost their jobs.

The country's platinum sector is currently faced with a potentially crippling strike.

Anglo American South Africa's Khanyisile Kweyama says their restructuring plan put the company's relationship with government and labour at stake when first announced last year.

She says it was not a popular decision but it had to be done.

"We are seeing the results in that now, because we took the plunge and said that in order to get to this point we have to cut costs. Because we did that, we are starting to see the returns. We know those businesses will get back to profitability."

The strike, which began at Anglo American Platinum in recent weeks, is once again affecting production.

But looking forward Kweyama does not foresee any immediate job cuts.

Meanwhile, South Africa continues to play a strategic role in mining on the continent.

This is the view of business advisory firm EY at this year's Mining Indaba.

While labour unrest has come to characterise the local mining industry, South Africa is still playing an important role in bringing business to the continent.

The firm's Sandile Hlophe says, "South Africa's position in the broader African context is more of a capital raising type destination, which you can use as a platform to invest in Africa. Number 2 South African companies are becoming major players in cross-border investments."

For a special feature on this year's Mining Indaba click here.