Mineworkers’ union say more than 36,000 mining jobs may be lost in 3 months

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Monday more than 36,000 jobs were under threat in the embattled industry over the next three months.

With prices of commodities remaining low for a long stretch, mining companies in South Africa had informed the government that they plan to cut about 32,000 jobs, in accordance with Section 52 of the country’s mineral resources law which obliges companies to inform the Mineral Resources Minister if 10 percent of a workforce or more than 500 people are likely to lose their jobs in a year.

Already, companies like Kumba Iron Ore and Platinum producer Lonmin have sacked workers numbering more than 8,000. Other companies in the mining industry have been reducing their staff strength as part of cost cutting measures at a time of sinking metal prices.

Mining employs about 440,000 people in South Africa, a country which grapples with high unemployment rate.

South Africa’s neighbours face similar troubles. According to the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA), 70,000 jobs have been lost in Southern Africa’s mining sector, and more may follow, owing to falling commodity prices.