JOHANNESBURG, April 26 South Africa's Impala
Platinum (Implats) said on Wednesday low prices and
social unrest could lead to large-scale job losses at its Marula
mine, which has been a flashpoint for labour tensions in the
Marula, on the eastern branch of South Africa's platinum
belt, employs around 4,500 people including contractors.
"The ongoing community disruptions and low metal prices have
resulted in a further restructuring process at Marula that could
result in large-scale job losses at this operation," Implats
said in a statement.
"This is something the business and economy can ill afford,
but remains imperative if we are to protect the financial
viability of our business and preserve jobs as far as possible,"
Implats' spokesman Johan Theron said community protests that
have often involved violence and road blocks have disrupted
production by preventing employees from reaching the shafts.
Outbursts of collective violence, often rooted in poverty
and grievances over poor government services – dubbed "service
delivery protests" – have become common in South Africa.
Officials from the Association of Mineworkers and
Construction Union (AMCU), the majority union at Marula, could
not immediately be reached for comment.
AMCU became the dominant union at the Marula mine after a
tense wildcat strike in 2014 that saw it dislodge arch-rival the
National Union of Mineworkers.
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Edmund Blair)