Job losses in the mining sector are on an upward trajectory. Gold Fields saying on August 14 that about 1,100 permanent employees and 460 contractors could be affected by its proposed restructuring makes this evident. Earlier in August, Impala Platinum announced in a strategic update that its restructuring process could affect 9,000 employees and 4,000 contractors’ positions over the two-year implementation period. AngloGold Ashanti’s restructuring process is said to potentially affect 2,000 jobs, while industry heavyweight Sibanye-Stillwater retrenched just more than 2,000 employees at its gold operations in 2017. To justify these figures, mining houses cite various "systematic challenges" that affect their profitability. A decline in production profiles, increased depth of the ore body from central infrastructure, challenging geotechnical and underground conditions, and poor equipment reliability and productivity are just a few. These challenges are said to have a negative impact ...

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