South Africa: AngloGold plans 2,000 job cuts

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. is looking to cut 2,000 jobs in South Africa, where it employs roughly 8,200 people, as part of plans to reduce costs.

“The restructuring will affect employees across the different categories and levels, including the region’s executive committee and senior management,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

In recent times, mining companies in South Africa have had to deal with the risk of volatile labor relations, rising costs, regulatory disruptions and technical issues.

The world’s third-largest gold miner, in other to stem its losses in South Africa and improve their global portfolio, sold two of its mines for a total of $307.4 million to Harmony Gold Mining Co. and a Chinese investment firm, Heaven-sent SA Sunshine Investment Co, last year, after the South African miner closed a mine in South Africa.

The Moab Khotsong, which includes the Great Noligwa mine, was sold to Harmony for about $300 million and Kopanang mine was sold to Heaven-Sent SA Sunshine Investment Co. for 100 million rand ($7.4 million).

The assets sale came after AngloGold put its South African assets under review, “given their under-performance leading to heavy, and ultimately unsustainable, losses being incurred”, and the transaction is in line with the company’s capital-allocation strategy, it said then in a statement.

AngloGold is also operating in other countries in Africa, including Ghana and Tanzania – where it plans to challenge the government through arbitration, over changes in the mining law that would enable state sovereignty over mineral wealth. AngloGold’s assets left in South Africa are Mponeng mine, and a surface operation, following heavy losses incurred in its South African mines.

All-in costs of running the business in the first quarter of the year was $1 361 compared with the average gold price of $1 330 per ounce during the period, AngloGold said. “This performance emphasizes the need to address our cost base to ensure it is appropriate for our much-reduced production.”