The local mining industry has lost 70,000 jobs in the past five years. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The local mining industry has lost 70,000 jobs in the past five years. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Three companies have outlined plans in recent weeks to lay off more than 20,000 employees and shut mines, with the latest, Sibanye Gold, talking of illegal mining, poor productivity and the strong rand as the factors behind its plans to shed about 10,000 jobs.

The local mining industry has lost 70,000 jobs in the past five years, according to the Chamber of Mines. This puts into perspective recently announced job cuts by three companies, signals how distressed the industry is and just how fragile in light of a suspended Mining Charter which would introduce hefty new costs to it.

As it stood now, the revised charter would strip another 100,000 jobs out of a sector that employed 458,000 people in 2016, said the chamber. Gold mines are, by and large, old, deep and expensive to operate. AngloGold Ashanti has said it will cut up to 8,500 jobs as it stops its old and unprofitable Kopanang and Savuka mines.

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