Home » Sibanye-Stillwater’s R6.6 Billion Savings Plan Targets Loss-Making Assets

Sibanye-Stillwater’s R6.6 Billion Savings Plan Targets Loss-Making Assets

Strategic Measures Aim to Boost Efficiency and Reduce Costs

by Adenike Adeodun

Sibanye-Stillwater’s measures to address loss-making assets are expected to secure annual savings and defer capital expenditures by R6.6 billion, chairperson Dr. Vincent Maphai told the online AGM of the platinum group metals major on Tuesday.

Sibanye-Stillwater, listed in Johannesburg and New York, focuses on strategic essentials like reducing operating and capital costs and improving efficiencies.

Despite being prepared for an extended period of low prices, the company remains optimistic about the outlook for its metals. With over 82,000 employees, it reported a 2023 net debt-to-earnings ratio of 0.58x at year-end 2023.

“We’ll complement our existing business and deliver tangible value to our stakeholders,” Maphai added.

During the question session, Sibanye-Stillwater was asked for an update on pending retrenchments and whether they would be conducted sustainably and responsibly. The inquiry also requested information on rehabilitating retrenched workers to mitigate job loss impacts in South Africa’s challenging unemployment environment.

CEO Neal Froneman explained that some mine shafts nearing the end of their life cycles necessitated swift actions to ensure overall business sustainability.

“That’s the nature of mining. You’re depleting a resource, and some shafts should have closed pre-Covid. We have kept them open longer than anticipated, but restructuring is always sensitive,” Froneman said, noting that 60% to 70% of the company’s costs are people-related.

The latest restructuring focuses on middle and senior management to adjust overheads according to the production base. These processes adhere to the Labour Relations Act and the Section 189 process. “We do our best to avoid retrenchments, looking at voluntary options, retirements, and transfers. Few people are forcibly retrenched at the end of the process,” Froneman explained. Those losing their jobs are considered for re-employment when conditions improve and receive training and appropriate benefits.

Froneman also addressed concerns about employees tied to mine houses, stating the company would need to consider this issue carefully.

Sibanye-Stillwater experienced minimal impact from 2023’s low energy availability factor of 55% due to effective energy curtailment management by the regional team. By 2025/26, the company plans to generate close to a third of its energy needs from renewable sources, alleviating load curtailment pressures, aiding the national effort to end load-shedding, lowering costs, and reducing its carbon footprint.

Significant progress has been made in reducing illegal mining and copper cable theft risks through cooperation with authorities.

“We value our constructive relationships with mine communities, governments, regulators, and stakeholders,” said Maphai. Outgoing social, ethics, and sustainability chairperson Jerry Vilakazi highlighted Sibanye-Stillwater’s commitment to embedding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in all operating regions. Vilakazi noted that there were no reportable or material ESG-related fines to disclose.

Sibanye-Stillwater is one of the world’s largest producers of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, in addition to being a gold producer. It also refines iridium and ruthenium, nickel, chrome, copper, and cobalt, and has begun diversifying its asset portfolio into battery metals, expanding its presence in the circular economy through recycling and tailings reprocessing globally.


Source: Mining Weekly

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