On 14 September 2023, Sibanye-Stillwater advised that it would enter into consultation in terms of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act (S189) with organised labour and other affected stakeholders, regarding the possible restructuring of its SA gold operations pursuant to ongoing losses over an extended period and operational constraints at the Kloof 4 shaft.

The company says that the initiation of S189 consultations follows numerous unsuccessful attempts to address productivity issues and other operational constraints at the Kloof 4 shaft, including seismicity and cooling constraints (associated with the chilled water reticulation circuit), which together have contributed to sustained losses, even at recent high gold prices. This has been compounded by the recent incident at Kloof 4 shaft (announced on 1 August 2023), which caused significant damage to the shaft infrastructure. Together, these factors have resulted in a severe deterioration in productivity and have jeopardised the financial viability of the Kloof 4 shaft.

The possible restructuring of the Kloof 4 shaft could potentially affect 2 389 employees and 581 contractor employees at the shaft. Through the formal S189 consultation process, the company and affected stakeholders will together consider measures to avoid and mitigate possible retrenchments and seek alternatives to the potential cessation or downscaling of operations and associated services.

“We will engage with all relevant stakeholders in an effort to avoid job losses while attempting to limit the impact on the remainder of the operations and employees at the SA gold operations,” said Richard Cox, executive vice-president and head of the SA gold operations.