August 1, 2018 / 5:58 PM / a year ago

Exclusive - Impala Platinum to announce job cuts; close some South African shafts: sources

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Impala Platinum (Implats) (IMPJ.J) plans to cut jobs and close some of its shafts in South Africa as part of a restructuring process to make its struggling mines profitable, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

One source said up to 1,500 jobs could be affected at Impala, the world’s second largest platinum miner.

The announcement is expected on Thursday. An Implats spokesman declined to comment.

Implats has been struggling with operational supply issues and low platinum prices which have made many of its flagship Rustenburg shafts unprofitable.

The miner flagged its intention to restructure and cut up to 2,500 jobs last September and has so far cut about 2,000 positions. Thursday’s announcement will involve a new round of layoffs.

Layoffs are a politically sensitive issue in South Africa where unemployment runs at about 28 percent.

South Africa, home to the world’s deepest mines, supplies 80 percent of global platinum output.

Platinum prices XPT= hit their lowest in a decade earlier this year due to chronic oversupply and falling demand from the automotive industry, where the metal is used in catalysts to cut vehicle emissions.

Reporting by Zandi Shabalala in London and Ed Stoddard in Johannesburg; Editing by Veronica Brown and Adrian Croft

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