Sibanye-Stillwater’s Consultations on Kloof 4 Shaft Restructuring

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant
Picture: Mining News

Sibanye-Stillwater, a company listed on both the SE and NYSE, is embarking on a critical phase of consultations involving organized labour and various stakeholders who are directly affected by the potential restructuring of its South African gold operations. This action comes as a response to persistent financial losses over an extended period and operational challenges faced at the Kloof 4 shaft, located in Gauteng.

These consultations are being carried out under the framework of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act. Sibanye-Stillwater has previously made several attempts to tackle issues related to productivity and other operational constraints at the Kloof 4 shaft. These constraints encompass seismic activity and cooling-related challenges associated with the chilled water reticulation circuit. Even during periods of relatively high gold prices, these persistent issues, when combined, have led to sustained financial losses for the company.

Furthermore, the situation was exacerbated in late July when a significant incident occurred at the Kloof 4 shaft. During a safety trial run of the conveyance system, an ascending counterweight encountered an unidentified obstruction within the shaft, leading to the dislodging of multiple ballast plates. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in connection with this incident.

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Collectively, these factors have resulted in a substantial decline in productivity, ultimately jeopardizing the financial viability of the Kloof 4 shaft. It is important to note that the potential restructuring of this shaft could impact a substantial number of individuals, specifically 2,389 employees and 581 contractor employees.

During the formal consultation process prescribed by Section 189A, Sibanye-Stillwater, and the affected stakeholders will collaborate to explore various measures aimed at preventing or mitigating possible job losses. The objective is to seek alternatives that would allow the company to continue its operations, while reducing the potential for downsizing or, in the worst-case scenario, the cessation of operations and associated services.

Richard Cox, Executive Vice President and Head of the South African gold operations at Sibanye-Stillwater, has emphasized the company’s commitment to engaging with all relevant stakeholders. The primary goal is to prevent job losses, and concurrently, to minimize any adverse impact on the remaining operations and employees within the South African gold operations portfolio. Cox’s dedication underscores the importance of preserving employment opportunities while navigating these challenging circumstances.

It’s worth noting that the Kloof 4 shaft plays a significant role in Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold production. With an annual yield of over 115,000 ounces of gold, its operational status holds implications not only for the company’s financial health but also for the broader mining industry and the livelihoods of those who depend on it.

In conclusion, Sibanye-Stillwater’s decision to initiate consultations under Section 189A reflects a proactive approach to addressing the complex challenges it faces in its South African gold operations, particularly at the Kloof 4 shaft. These consultations aim to explore all possible avenues to safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of its operations. By engaging with stakeholders and seeking alternative solutions, the company is working diligently to navigate the difficult terrain of the mining industry while prioritizing the well-being of its workforce and the communities it serves.

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Sibanye-Stillwater’s Consultations on Kloof 4 Shaft Restructuring

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