Sibanye closes the loss-making 4B shaft at Marikana but minimises job losses

Sibanye Stillwater is to close the 4B shaft at its Marikana platinum operations near Brits affecting 1,496 employees and 54 contractors some five years after the group initially proposed closing it down in 2019.

According to a Sibanye statement the 4b shaft has been unable to meet the profitability conditions set as an outcome of the Section 189A process of the South African pgms operations which was announced in October last year.

Over the past five years the shaft was kept going by “several successful initiatives supported by stronger pgm prices but, despite all efforts to restore the shaft to profitability since February 23, 2024, the 4B shaft has continued to be loss-making.”

Out of the affected workforce 643 employees have been granted voluntary separation or early retirement packages and 469 have been transferred to other South African pgm operations.

A further 226 jobs had been removed through natural attrition with workers leaving not being replaced and 93 employees were on fixed term contracts which were not renewed. A total of 65 employees have been retrenched and 54 contractors have been terminated.

Sibanye Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman commented, “the decision to close a shaft is never taken lightly. We cannot however continue to absorb ongoing losses which in turn affects the viability of the rest of the South African pgm operations to the detriment of all stakeholders.”

Sibanye also reported that the Siphumelele shaft at the group’s Rustenburg operation is on schedule to resume production during May as planned following damage to surface infrastructure during February when the surface ore conveyor collapsed.