Victoria Falls – Anglo Platinum has not offered its employees in Zimbabwe a salary increase this year despite the chamber of mines in the country and mine workers unions agreeing to a 1.5% wage increase for 2016.
Anglo Platinum operates the Unki mine in Zimbabwe and is one of about three South African mining groups in the country. The others are Sibanye Gold and Impala Platinum, whose chief executive officer, Terrence Goodlace is to resign this year.
Anglo Platinum told Fin24 on Friday that the world’s number one platinum producer continues to implement cost cutting measures, however the mine did not respond to a question whether it was laying off workers in Zimbabwe.
“Anglo American Platinum’s Unki Mine continues to manage the business for current price environment, as a result no salary increases were awarded to employees in 2016. We continue to explore and implement measures to reduce operating costs,” the spokesperson said.
Fin24 this week that the chamber of mines of Zimbabwe said mining groups in the country, including those owned by South African companies, were to lay off workers to manage costs.
However, the chamber of mines refuted this on Friday, saying: “The relationship between the Workers Unions and the Chamber is cordial and has improved tremendously in the past years with wage negotiations concluded in a record short period in the past this year.”
But Fin24 has it on good authority that some miners have started deliberations to lay off some workers. Batirai Manhando, chairperson of the labour committee of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said earlier this week that retrenchments could happen at Bindura Nickel Corporation, where he is chief executive officer.
“As part of remodelling, yes there could be some retrenchments as we go; we concluded yet another retrenchment exercise at the end of last year,” he said and Fin24 has a recording of his statement.
Chamber of mines chief executive, Isaac Kwesu, said in response to questions from journalists, also recorded, that “…sometimes you are left with no option but laying off” because of the high cost environment.
Winstone Chitando, head of the Platinum Producers Association of Zimbabwe, said at a mining conference in Victoria Falls on Friday that there are about three new platinum producers that could start operations in the country. Most of these new ventures are partnerships between the government and other investors said to be from Russia and other countries.
This comes as the government is intensifying the takeover of unused mineral claims held by existing miners in the country, with President Robert Mugabe having already demanded that Zimplats release about 27 000 hectares of land claims to the state. The claims would then be given to new investors, according to officials.