AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. is offering miners voluntary severance packages as part of the third-biggest gold producer’s plan to reduce costs.
The process is a continuation of plans announced last year, when the South African gold producer said it would trim about 800 positions from the 2,000 in its corporate offices globally, Franz Stehring, head of mining at the UASA labor union, said by phone today. This round will include entry-level miners in categories 3 to 8, as well as artisans and officials, he said.
AngloGold, with 21 operations in 11 countries, is implementing a range of “self-help measures” to cut net debt by $1 billion, or one-third of the total, over the next three years, it said this month. Bullion has dropped 31 percent since the start of last year, forcing producers to rein in costs.
“We have offered voluntary severance packages to staff, which is part of our self-help measures we announced at our quarterly results to further reduce costs and enhance efficiency,” Chris Nthite, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based AngloGold, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Unions and the company will assess take-up levels for voluntary severance before determining whether 60 days of talks on potential cuts are needed, as outlined in section 189 of South Africa’s Labour Relations Act, Stehring said. The number of staff affected will be finalized by the end of December, he said.
“The whole process took us a full year,” Stehring said.
The National Union of Mineworkers on Nov. 7 met company management, which said that some worker categories are overstaffed and that it would offer the voluntary packages, according to an e-mailed statement from the labor group. “The NUM position is that there are still other options that can be looked at to avoid forced retrenchments.”
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