Amplats in major overhaul of South African operations

Anglo American Platinum this morning spelled out a radical overhaul of its business, involving the sale of a mine complex and the closure of several shafts.

As part of the review commissioned last February, Amplats will trim its Rustenberg operations into three mines, mothballing four high-cost shafts, resulting in a drop of 400,000 ounces of output a year. Lower platinum demand and higher costs for the metal made the shafts unsustainable, Amplats said this morning.

The miner, which is 80 per cent owned by parent Anglo American, also said it would divest of its Union operations, as the complex is “likely to be of greater value under different ownership”.

As a result of the overhaul, 14,000 jobs will be lost, of which around 13,000 will be in the Rustenberg area of South Africa, to balance the cuts.

Overall, the outlined changes should save the miner around ZAR3.8bn (£270m) annually, Amplats said this morning.

Chris Griffith, chief executive of Amplats, said that the review was designed to address the “structural changes” that have eroded profitability over time.

“By creating a sustainable, competitive and profitable business, we will be in a stronger position to continue substantial investment, provide more secure and stable employment, and to benefit our customers, suppliers, shareholders,” he added.