South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Sunday said that Pan African Resources would cut 1,722 jobs at its Evander Gold Mine in the country’s Mpumalanga province.
The NUM said the company, which has a total workforce of 1,812 people at the mine, informed the union that the job cuts were due to deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure at the mine, high operating costs, such as rising electricity, labour costs, and a low gold price.
Pan African Resources could not immediately be reached for comment.
Layoffs are a politically sensitive issue in South Africa, where the jobless rate is close to 28%.
“The retrenchment of 1,722 permanent workers is bad given the fact that the majority of mineworkers support 10 people per family which means that a lot of people will be negatively affected by these retrenchments,” the union said.
South Africa’s Harmony Gold, sold the Evander mine to Pan African Resources in 2012 for R1.5 billion ($129.98 million) in a bid to double its annual gold output to 200,000 ounces per year.