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Hundreds of thousands of jobs can be saved and the closure of large swathes of SA’s gold mining industry can be staved off by mining the deposits with smart new machines day and night, Sibanye Gold CEO Neal Froneman said. Speaking in his capacity as vice-president of the Chamber of Mines, of which most of SA’s gold mines are members, Froneman said the industry would experience a sharp decline in production by the end of this decade and "die out almost completely by 2033" if those operations continued to use expensive, labour-intensive mining methods that had barely changed in a century. An estimated 200,000 gold mining jobs would be lost if that happened, he said. "The picture changes radically with mechanisation: annual output persists at current levels until at least 2025 and until 2030 or even beyond with 24-7, mechanised operations," he said, saying mines could continue until at least 2045. SA has been the single-largest source of gold and was mining 1,000 tonnes a year in the 1...

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