Bokoni Platinum Mine, located in Burgersfort, Limpopo, is expected to close its doors and lay off close to 2600 permanent workers and over 3000 contract workers after the mine said it is no longer profitable.

The jointly owned Anglo American and Atlatsa Resources mine produces about 55 000 ounces of platinum a year, but has failed to make a profit since 2009.

Currently, more than 400 mineworkers have already been retrenched in a process that is expected to take two months.

Cedric Monyane, a 57 year old miner who has worked at the mine for 29 years, and will be affected by the retrenchments said he supports a family of ten. He said the retrenchments would be a blow to his family.

“This will have a huge impact on all of us, as some of us are old and will struggle to find jobs. We have children who are unemployed and depend on us,” he said.

Thapelo Maditsi, Chairman, Num Bokoni said, “There are ways and means to mediate these retrenchments. The mine should approach other investors, and government to see how government can assist in funding this mine, in order to save it.”

Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant said after visiting the mine, “’Retrenchments are not good for our country and for the economy. There are times where we understand what companies are doing, but you can’t just announce retrenchments and then get off scot-free. You have to work with the government.”

Oliphant said management should consider other alternatives before implementing further retrenchments.