Home » Sibanye-StillWater Discusses Kloof 4 Shaft Future with Labour

Sibanye-StillWater Discusses Kloof 4 Shaft Future with Labour

by Adenike Adeodun

Johannesburg – Sibanye-Stillwater, dual-listed on both the JSE and NYSE, has announced it will enter into consultations with trade unions and other stakeholders. The talks concern the potential restructuring of its gold operations in South Africa due to consistent losses and operational challenges experienced at the Kloof 4 shaft in Gauteng.

Triggering these consultations is the company’s adherence to Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act. This move comes after several efforts failed to rectify the declining productivity and manage the intrinsic operational challenges. Among these challenges are issues of seismicity and complications related to the chilled water distribution circuit, specifically at the Kloof 4 shaft.

Surprisingly, even the recent surge in gold prices hasn’t offset the damages. Sibanye-Stillwater highlighted the continuing losses, pointing towards the shaft’s significant infrastructural damage in late July. During a safety check of the conveyance system, an ascending counterweight hit an unforeseen obstruction. This mishap led to several ballast plates plummeting down the shaft. Luckily, this incident, which happened before the commencement of employee hoisting, resulted in no injuries.

Collectively, these hurdles have drastically impacted the shaft’s productivity. The company even raised concerns about the financial feasibility of continuing operations at the Kloof 4 shaft.

According to a report by Mining Weekly, Sibanye-Stillwater has acknowledged the severe ramifications of such a restructuring move, which might jeopardize the livelihoods of nearly 2,389 of its employees and an additional 581 contractors. 

In its statement, the company emphasized its commitment to collaboratively exploring solutions during these consultations. They will focus on devising strategies to prevent potential job cuts and find alternatives to either shutting down or scaling back operations and related services.

Richard Cox, Sibanye’s Executive VP and the chief of South African gold operations, stressed on this collaborative approach, stating, “Our primary objective will be to engage extensively with all the stakeholders. We aim to preserve as many jobs as possible and to minimize the impact on the wider operations and the vast majority of our workforce in the South African gold sector.”

It’s crucial to highlight that the Kloof 4 shaft is not a minor operation; it’s responsible for churning out more than 115,000 oz of gold annually.

With South Africa’s gold mining sector facing numerous challenges, this potential restructuring underscores the delicate balance companies must maintain between operational efficiency, safety, and economic feasibility.

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