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Calls for nationalisation of mines as more job losses loom at Impala

Amcu says it’s time to stop exporting jobs abroad, and focus on local beneficiation.

Implats is on a collision course with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over the mine’s decision to phase out five of its 11 operating shafts and lay off 13 000 workers.

At a press conference in Sandton on Tuesday, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa warned that even one job loss was unacceptable, threatening calamitous strike action that would impact “anyone who does business with Impala”.

Each job lost would impact between five and 10 dependents. “This means 130 000 could be impacted by the retrenchments,” said Mathunjwa. The five shafts that Implats plans to shut down should be nationalised. “All mines should be nationalised to promote sustainable jobs,” he added. “The state should revoke the licences of mines that are under care and maintenance.”

Implats’s announcement has also attracted criticism from mines minister Gwede Mantashe, who called the mine’s actions “reckless”. In 2014, Amcu members staged a five-month strike in the platinum sector for higher wages. The strike negatively impacted platinum prices, as well as the rand, and cost platinum producers R24 billion in lost revenue. Mathunjwa threatened more disruption if consultation talks with government and mine management failed.

Cadiz mining analyst Peter Major says SA has already effectively nationalised its mining sector through the Mining Charter and other regulations which add layers of bureaucracy and costs.

The Implats announcement follows a recent announcement by Sibanye-Stillwater to cut 12 600 jobs over three years as part of its plan to acquire another platinum producer, Lonmin.

Addressing the issue of continued job losses in the mining sector, Mathunjwa said this was self-inflicted and manufactured by government. “One mining job in SA supports three jobs in Europe. The skills in SA are limited to extraction (of minerals), not to beneficiation.” By failing to add value to locally-extracted minerals, SA was effectively exporting jobs which could be beneficiated locally, thereby creating thousands of mining-related jobs in SA.

The latest iteration of the mining charter offers generous benefits for local beneficiation of minerals. Mathunjwa said it was possible that this could result in a thriving local industry, similar to that offered under the department of trade and industry’s Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which allows vehicle manufacturers to offset import tariffs against exports. The programme has attracted billions of rands in investment, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the value of exports – to the benefit of the balance of payments.

Mathunjwa pointed to Highveld Steel, placed in business rescue in 2016, as a prime candidate for nationalisation. After seven successive years of losses, it was forced to close operations and lay off 1 800 workers.

“We should have nationalised Highveld, instead we imported steel from China for Kusile and Medupi power plants.”

One of the complaints from steel manufacturers was that SA was unique in failing to impose import tariffs on cheap steel, most of it coming from China. “China is like a loan shark and you know how they behave – they take your bank card,” said Mathunjwa.

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I don’t see how nationalisation of mines will change anything. I think history has proved that whenever government is involved, whatever they are involved with becomes a cesspool of corruption and fraud.

Our labour is too expensive because some of the unions are requesting salaries for unskilled workers that not even graduates fresh out of university could hope to earn as a start. It’s obviously cheaper to import from China because they don’t have unions knocking on their doors every year and they have an effective working force.

Everyone seems to forget that we are part of the Global Economy and that we need to be Globally competitve, currently S.A. is not competitive in the field of labour production.

Farming, Mining and other forms of labour jobs will continue to fall under the 4th industrial revolution.

Even China is exporting it’s jobs to Africa, Kenya is now a manufacturing garments for China. Because they are competitive.

If you believe that nationalisation does work then have a look at Venezuela, Argentina where the government employees 50 to 60% of the work force . Venezuela now imports oil to maintain its contracts, because it cheaper than producing oil it self. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves.

You cannot have wage growth and job growth at the same time that is why S.A. is failing.

China and India had the same problem so they opted for Job growth then as the employment rate increased they increased wages.

S.A. needs population control as well, the number of mouths that need to be fed increases every year despite the fact that the economy is shrinking, meaning we have less resources.

This entire situation has been created by the incompetence of revolutionaries who have no degree of understanding how to run a country let a lone a business.

Bottom line is you need make a profit, SA is making a loss and it’s getting bigger and Bigger every year.

They will be well advised to take their retrenchment packages and up-skill themselves to be proficient in a job that is relevant in the 21st century. Rock drill operators and scraper winch drivers are jobs you won’t hear about in 10 years time. Mining is becoming mechanised and these deep conventional mines will be all closed soon. Sooner if the unions fuss too much.

Some more load for the dying Tax Payer if mines are nationalized.

If the Platinum prices are dropping what can the management of the mine do?

Close the mine down for a few years and send everyone home.

AMCU will shut up once and for all.

Unfortunately they will never shut up, because like Zimbabwe’s dictator and many others there was always someone to blame, a finger to be pointed and insult to be thrown for trying to stop the status quo “revolution”. Which is actually just wolf in sheep’s clothing for we will rob you blind and even worse than apartheid.

I in no way condone apartheid and it’s crimes however the reason it existed was due to one simple fact “it made profit”. It was less about racism and more about making concentrated wealth, racism was just the tool that was used as the means of production.

In the Stats the ANC can be seen in the same light, their reason for existence was for “hope for profit” which like Zuma said about the 1000 black industrialists which will come from creation of concentrated wealth. The end of the anc is near about 5 years away because it’s no longer a profitable business.

Mines will close their doors until, like Zimbabwe they beg for them to come back. Once they are gone 90% unemployment and it’s a hard road back.

Understand a pure reality, GOVERNMENT CAN’T RUN ANYTHING! Just look at the things they have their tentacles in. They are all about failing. At one time SARS was the top of the efficiency scale, NOW what??

“ China is like a loan shark and you know how they behave – they take your bank card,” said Mathunjwa.”

Joseph Mathunjwa, your comrades ask China to join in the party of the SA economy, you can’t now tell them to get lost

they don’t think before they talk…as a matter of fact they don’t contemplate at all.

Did we not conclude on the previous article related to the mining sector, that gold and platinum reserves are running out, and becoming harder to cost effectively mine? That then has absolutely nothing to do with nationalisation. Mother Earth will not throw up more minerals if you nationalise her. That being said, it is worth a try LOL.

Minister Gwede Mantashe, who called the mine’s actions “reckless”. Really coming from the ANC and the shenanigans which he could not control whilst he was secretary general!!!

As far as I understand the shafts that Implats are looking to close are loss making. Nationalising it would mean the taxpayer will need to absorb those losses.

To be honest I think first prize for Implats would be if their unprofitable shafts are nationalized. It means that they will save on redundancy pay and also that they do not need to do the environmental rehab they are obliged to do when shutting down shafts.

All of us in SA need to wake up to the fact that mining will not drive economic growth going forward. That ship sailed a very long time, taking with it most of the profits and the Cullinan diamond. We are left with mine dumps and unemployment.

We can sit in a heap and cry about it or we can do something about it. Nationalising unprofitable business where profits are just going to decline even further as the mines become ever deeper and more expensive to operate is retarted.

Forcing mines like Implats to share in the cost of retraining the people it is planning to sack is something one could look into.

Providing certainty to miners regarding the mining charter and entrenching once empowered always empowered will create the conditions for mining firms to invest and remain invested in SA.

The disability in reason to take short term pain vs long term sustainability is the death knell for sub Saharan African evolution.
Famine is always the outcome.

these bastardos must go and watch ANY documentary on SA mines. How it is run from the deepest point up to highest management decisions ( absolutely mind boggling )…..but the ANC doesn’t have any savvy to be boggled.

It will be Eskom 2.0. I have no faith in any regime/union run entity in SA. How many failures before we see the truth?

I would say go ahead and let the government take over the closing shafts, if it was not for the fact that the taxpayer would have to foot the bill for such an futile exercise in the end.

The AMCU is not a dumb as people think. One cannot get blood out of a stone (or the Merensky reef) but one can milk the taxpayer ad nausium. The loss making shafts could be sold to ANC regime. They will continue to be loss making shafts in the vein of SAA, Alexcor, Eskom etc. The entity will thus be a continual drain on the taxpayer. The AMCU employees will have jobs and the AMCU leaders will have a cushy existence. As they always do. What will suffer is the things that the tax monies should be spent on. It’s called wealth destruction and is an ANC speciality.

Nationalisation of a loss making mine means that the tax payers will then be funding that mine indefinitely. Don’t be stupid.

Please go ahead and nationalise the mines. I would love to see the ANC, who is one of the most destructive organisation in history and cannot even organise a small conference, run a mining company. Something like Aurora on steroids. But go for and prove me wrong.

And if the mines are nationalised, then it is the fiscus (viz. us taxpayers) that will have to support it …… much like SAA, SABC, etc.
There is not enough tax money to fund all these failed SOE’s
This is just Economics 101!!!

I was just daring, I did not expect anyone to take my comment literally. To nationalise more in a country where the Government has destroyed so much and cannot even fix a pothole is ludicrous by any standard!

You cannot force private capital and shareholders to conduct a business at a loss AMCU – If you believe otherwise, offer to buy their shafts and other capital improvements, apply for a mining licence from The Minister and get your fat cat trade unions to capitalise the operation for your workers benefit and see how that works out – got it?

You could of course nationalise it but all that will do is transfer the loss to the taxpayers – who are already up to their eyeballs funding the anc’s myriad unprofitable and looted SOE’s!

AMCU seems very knowledgeable and know a good deal when they see one. Here’s a thought..

Can AMCU please take over these loss making mines using their own capital and run them at full efficiency, beneficiate the raw materials and return the dividends to their stakeholders by raising their pay by 30% a year guaranteed.

H3ll, we’ll even let you pay zero tax on the roaring profits. Go show Implats and Highveld how incapable they are. Be the one and only bright burning light of socialist mining policy that ever worked on the planet.

But if you dare show us a loss, promise us you’ll throw yourselves down these dead mine shafts never to be heard from ever again.

People think governments print money and can take on risky investment without repurcussions. Government borrows from the same markets as companies and investors demand the same return, if they don’t pay because they invest in fantasy projects the investors will stop funding them. SA should teach economics and accounting until at least matric.

Agree 100%. Also include some ANC Cabinet Ministers when teaching basic economics…maybe this will prevent them from saying they will ‘just pick up the Rand’ should ‘it fall!??”
Very embarrassing!? But to make matters worse, the majority who actually heard it, still actually believe it!??

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