JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Anglo American Platinum Ltd (AMSJ.J) has had “constructive” consultations with the South African government about a company restructuring that could lead to 14,000 job cuts, chief executive Chris Griffith said on Tuesday.
The world’s largest platinum producer agreed to postpone the massive job cuts to allow for more talks.
“We have had very constructive conversations. I think our relationship is sort of back where it should be. This is going to be a difficult process,” Griffith told Talk Radio 702.
Mining minister Susan Shabangu said the company had betrayed government trust earlier this month by announcing a plan to mothball shafts and lay off workers under a restructuring by parent company Anglo American (AAL.L).
Griffith told the radio Amplats was trying desperately to keep the business alive given tough market conditions.
“This is not about playing games. The company is in real trouble and we have to collectively do something,” Griffith said.
Last week, President Jacob Zuma said the government needed to engage with gold and platinum mining firms about proposed shaft closures and lay-offs, and was not threatening them with license reviews.
South Africa boasts 80 percent of the world’s platinum deposits. Producers have been hit by rising input costs, falling prices, safety stoppages and violent labor unrest.
Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda; Editing by Ed Cropley