Amplats commences talks with South African government

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum has commenced formal talks with South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources days after the company's share price plunged following an announcement that the company would close several mines affecting more than 10,000 jobs.

Mining giant Anglo American Platinum has commenced formal talks with South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources days after the company's share price plunged following an announcement that the company would close several mines affecting more than 10,000 jobs.

The group announced that Chief Executive Officer Chris Griffith had held discussions with Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources on Thursday and stated the talks would continue between the company and Department of Mineral Resources over the next 90 days.

Griffith commented: "We welcome the opportunity for continuing engagement with Minister Shabangu and her team in order to reach our shared objective of creating a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business for the benefit of all stakeholders and for South Africa."

The announcement follows several days of turbulence after a number of employees protested against plans to close several mines.

On Tuesday Anglo American Platinum, which is a subsidiary of Anglo American, published details of a review of the company outlining plans to reconfigure its Rustenburg operations into three mines and deliver Rs 3.8bn annual benefits by 2015 through efficiency and cost-reduction initiatives including annual savings of R390m from optimising its overhead structure.

As a result of the proposed changes, the company stated that a total of 14,000 jobs could be affected with some 13,000 of them being in the Rustenburg area.

The same day as the company published its business review, an article quoting Minister Shabangu was published on Miningweekly.com, indicating the company had not fully briefed her as to the scale of its proposed plans.

She was quoted as saying: "The department regrets the behaviour by Anglo American on how the company relates and undermines the regulator on such important business decisions which impact the government's economy."

She was also quoted as saying: "There was never a consultation, there was a meeting with the [outgoing] Anglo American CEO [Cynthia Carroll] about the intention of restructuring... but it was agreed that they would come to us if they had a plan before going public."

Anglo American Platinum revealed it had swung to a large loss in 2012 which it said was due to a two-month long illegal strike and a fall in platinum prices.

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