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AngloGold Ashanti CEO: Job cuts need to happen

It says it’s critical that it acts to protect the long-term sustainability of the business in South Africa along with the majority of its workforce.

FILE: Miners at work in a shaft. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – AngloGold Ashanti’s CEO Srinivasan Venkata-Krishnan has described the company’s decision to consider possible retrenchments as tough but says it’s needed to preserve the viability of the remaining operations in the country.

The mining company announced on Wednesday that it may have to cut over 8,000 jobs.

It says it’s critical that it acts to protect the long-term sustainability of the business in South Africa along with the majority of its workforce.

AngloGold Ashanti notified its stakeholders earlier this year that it would review its gold-mining operations in light of heavy, and ultimately unsustainable losses.

Venkata-Krishnan says they are looking at various options and how they can minimise the job losses.

“This decision is a tough one for us, as you can appreciate as it is for the employee, but nevertheless, it’s something that needs to happen to preserve the viability of the remaining mines which employ two-thirds of the workforce.”

At the same time, labour unions say they are concerned about potential job cuts across the mining sector after AngloGold Ashanti's announcement.

Unions have called on the mining company to rethink its position.

The National Union of Mineworkers’ Livhuwani Mammburu says they are angry and shocked after being notified of the possible retrenchments of 8,500 workers at AngloGold Ashanti.

“These companies in South Africa don’t care about mine workers, they don’t care about creating jobs. They just care about profits.”

He says one job loss is one too many.

“One mineworker supports close to 10 family members, imagine 8,500.”

Meanwhile, trade union Solidarity says it’s concerned that more jobs could be cut in the sector due to new rules announced by the government to raise the minimum threshold for black ownership of mining companies from 26% to 30%.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)