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Fading away: South Africa's mining industry falls out of top 40 mining list

The hits just keep coming for South Africas mining industry. The latest annual survey by PwC -- Mine 2015: the gloves are off – revealed South Afr...

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|Jun 4|magazine8 min read

The hits just keep coming for South Africa’s mining industry.  

The latest annual survey by PwC -- Mine 2015: the gloves are off – revealed South Africa failed to make the Top 40 list of mining companies by market capitalization, the first time since 2004.

“This year saw no companies in South Africa from the Top 40 list – the first time a company from this traditional mining heavyweight has not been part of our analysis, and a far cry from the five companies included in our 2004 first edition of Mine,” said the report.

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The report, which analyzed 40 of the largest listed mining companies by market capitalization, also revealed the Top 40 mining companies in the world lost $156 billion, or roughly 16 percent of their combined market value, in 2014.

More bad news

According to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the South African mining industry has cut roughly 10,000 mining jobs since the start of 2015,

The industry could cut another 20,000.

“As we speak there are approximately 30 companies that have issued us with [the] Section 189 notification, with a minimum of between 15,000 to 20,000 jobs to be lost as per companies’ calculation,” said deputy secretary Tshimane Montoedi.

Mining is one of the biggest private sector employers in South Africa.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday companies operating South African mines are sidestepping regulations in plans for restructuring.

There’s “underlying deliberate circumvention of current regulatory framework,” the National Union of Mineworkers said in a statement. 

A number of companies, including commodities trader Glencore, platinum producer Lonmin and mining firm Harmony, have confirmed plans to either close operations or cut jobs in the near future.

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The union is prepared to battle what it believes as a mass retrenchment drive by major companies in the mining industry in the country.

“The NUM declares war against job losses through retrenchments, voluntary severance package and other … concocted means of destroying the lives of many families with dependants in labor-sending areas,” the union said in a statement.

Between 2012 and 2014, more than 35,000 jobs were cut in the mining industry; the majority of these were in the platinum and gold sectors, according to the union.

Ngoako Ramatlhodi, South Africa’s mines minister, said last month that the government was “alarmed at the rate at which retrenchments have been taking place in the industry”.

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