AngloGold Ashanti is in talks with unions to lay off nearly 900 workers at its South African operations, a document obtained by Reuters showed on Thursday.
Africa’s biggest gold producer employs about 25,000 people in South Africa, whose vast resources are accompanied by the risk of volatile labour relations, rising costs, regulatory disruptions and dizzying shaft depths.
“AngloGold Ashanti’s South Africa region is contemplating the dismissal of certain employees on the basis of its operational requirements,” said a letter dated January 17 signed by AngloGold Ashanti Chief Operating Officer Chris Sheppard.
The letter, addressed to unions, pegged the number of workers to be laid off at 849.
AngloGold, which vies with Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye Gold in South Africa, declined to comment on the number of jobs at stake but confirmed that it had started talks with unions and regulators that could lead to job cuts.
“Part of this process of engagement entails the necessary creation of a more sustainable and cost effective South African business that better reflects the realities of the operating environment,” spokesman Chris Nthite said.
“While some roles may be affected in this process, job cuts will always be a last resort.”