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The world’s leading primary producer of platinum group metals, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), has delayed its retrenchment plans for 60 days while it holds discussions with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and labour unions “to explore mechanisms of engagement on Amplats’ restructuring proposals”.

The announcement was made on Monday after discussions were held between Amplats, the DMR and labour unions (NUM, AMCU, NUMSA, UASA).

The tripartite members have agreed to postpone the continuation of the Section 189 process under the Labour Relations Act, which had commenced on 15 January 2013, in order to allow for a detailed consultation process to take place between the DMR, Amplats and labour unions.

It was agreed to expedite the consultation process and take no more than 60 days, beginning 30 January 2013.

The tripartite members as they are now known as, includes Amplats, the DMR and labour unions have also agreed to recommit to engage constructively for the benefit of all stakeholders and will communicate progress updates as and when appropriate.

Amplats announced earlier this month the company will retrench 14 000 of its workers, 13 000 of which will be from mines in Rustenburg, as it reviewed its assets in the country.

The company also announced it will reduce its operations to three.

Four unsustainable, high-cost shafts, namely Khuseleka 1 and 2 and Khomanani 1 and 2, will be put on long-term care and maintenance.

The Rustenburg processing operations will also be reconfigured to align with the revised mining footprint, which may include closing the Waterval UG2 concentrator and No 2 smelting furnace.

Until the company can find a suitable purchaser for Union mines, they will be reconfigured to protect near-term value by stopping mining activities at the Union North declines, combining Union North and South Shafts into one operation and putting the Mortimer Merensky concentrator on long-term care and maintenance.

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