South Africa-based precious metals mining company Sibanye-Stillwater is set to axe more than 4,000 jobs, as part of a restructuring process of its platinum group metal (PGM) shafts.

Under the planned restructuring process, the company intends to shut down four of its PGM shafts, which were making losses due to low commodity prices and rising costs.

The proposed restructuring and shaft closures may affect around 4,095 jobs, comprising 3,500 employees and 595 contractors, including support services employees.

Sibanye-Stillwater Africa chief regional officer Richard Stewart said: “We do not underestimate the potential impact of any form of restructuring and commit to constructively engaging with affected employees through their representatives in an effort to minimise job losses.

“Unfortunately, it is imperative that we engage in this process to ensure the sustainability of our SA PGM operations and the benefits and value they bring to multiple stakeholders.”

The Simunye shaft in the Kroondal operation stopped production last year, and the 4 Belt (4B) shaft in the Marikana operation is at the end of its operating life.

The Rowland shaft in the Marikana operation has achieved only 64% of planned production, due to several operational constraints.

The Siphumelele shaft in the Rustenburg operation saw significant seismic activity last year, where access to certain planned production areas has been restricted for safety reasons.

Sibanye-Stillwater has started consultations with the representatives of organised labour and other non-unionised employees, in accordance with the Labour Relations Act 1995.

The consultation process aims to consider alternative measures to minimise job losses and ensure the long-term viability of the Rowland and Siphumelele shafts, said the company.

Sibanye-Stillwater, in its statement, said: “Various alternatives have already been considered by management and organised labour representatives in Future Forum meetings.

“All reasonable options that may be suggested by affected employees through their representatives to address the losses during the Section 189A consultation process will be welcomed and duly considered.”