Bushveld to cut 40% of head office staff as global markets bite

BUSHVELD Minerals had cut jobs at its head office impacting about 40% of total employees as it sought to turn the company’s fortunes around.

In an update today, the vanadium miner also said it had brought forward a 12 day shutdown at its Vanchem facilities following “repeated refractory failures” in December.

Commenting on the job cuts, Craig Coltman, CEO of Bushveld, said challenges posted by global market conditions and “the need for sustained operational stability” has forced the company to “take further strategic measures”.

The reduction in staff would save the company $1.5m a year.

“As we navigate these challenges, we are confident that these measures will fortify Bushveld Minerals for long-term resilience and continued success in the dynamic commodity landscape,” he said.

Despite the problems at Vanchem, Bushveld was on track to meet its production forecast of 3,700 – 3,900 million tons of vanadium this year, it said.

In November, Bushveld received a boost after shareholder Orion Mine Finance said it had agreed to refinance and extend $46.9m in debt. This would pave the way for its recapitalisation amid a disastrous year.

It reported a cash outflow of $2.7m for the year to June. While this was less than the $7.1m cash outflow in the previous year, cash on hand dwindled to $3.7m. This resulted in the departure of Bushveld’s founding CEO, Fortune Mojapelo amid major shareholder discontent.

Southern Point Resources, a newly formed investment group, said it would pump up to $77.5m into Bushveld in return for control of its vanadium marketing and stakes in both its operations and top listed structure.

For his part, Coltman has promised to simplify Bushveld by returning it to its basic proposition of producing vanadium profitably for the carbon steel sector. Under Mojapelo, Bushveld had invested in downstream battery technology companies in an effort to stimulate new demand for the mineral.

On November 20, Bushveld Minerals announced it intended to sell its 25.25% stake in CellCube, an energy storage battery manufacturer.