JOHANNESBURG, July 24 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday that it received a section 189 notice from Bokoni Platinum in Limpopo to retrench 2,651 workers, in a bid to achieve profitability by restructuring the mine through shaft closures and other measures.
The NUM said this number excluded contractors and it could be much higher.
Bokoni Platinum is a joint-venture between Anglo American Platinum and AtlaSA Resources, which is a 51-percent majority shareholder. The mine’s operations remain cash negative after capital expenditure, and the mine has incurred negative cash flow of approximately R500 million for the first six months of 2017.
The NUM said it was served with a Section 189 notice of the Labour Relations Act by the company saying that it had the intention of placing the mine under care and maintenance.
The NUM said it was opposing the retrenchment notice because the company had not engaged with the union on the process pf embarking on a cost saving mechanism, and the union was not convinced that it needed to close the mine.
NUM north east regional secretary, Phillip Mankge, said that the union was also not sure whether the company had informed the minister of mineral resources as per mining legislation.
“The decision by Bokoni Platinum will lead to a high rate of unemployment in surrounding communities and dozens of families would be plunged into poverty. We call on Bokoni Platinum to return the mining licence to the department of mineral resources so that interested companies must take over,” Mankge said.
It accused the company of not having the interests of the workers and the surrounding communities at heart.
“They only care about profit.”
Mankge said they were requesting the company to reconsider their position and to deal with the issues raised by the union in the proper structural meeting.
Bokoni Platinum was not immediately available for comment on Monday afternoon. Announcing the restructuring plan last week, the mine said Amplats would fund all costs associated with the care and maintenance process and suspend servicing and repayment of all current and future debt owing by Atlatsa Group up until 31 December 2019.
Amplats would also be acquiring and including into its adjacent mining rights the resources specified in the Kwanda North and Central Block prospecting rights, other mines owned by AtlaSA, for a cash consideration of R300 million.