The numbers coming out of Impala Platinum’s (Implats’s) Rustenburg mines show the urgent need for a radical intervention, something the firm is undertaking, but in the face of fierce opposition. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the public utterances of mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe make it clear this is not going to be an easy process. Implats intends stopping or selling five of its 11 mines in the Rustenburg area, with the potential loss of up to 13,000 jobs in an area where its neighbour, Lonmin, is laying off 12,600 workers and closing old, unprofitable shafts. Implats CEO Nico Muller stressed on Thursday the keen awareness the company’s management had for the social ramifications and that they were working slowly and methodically, trying to find buyers for some of its mines where there was still a financial argument to be made to continue mining. Stripping out the unusual items by looking at the numbers at the top end of the income sta...

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