The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) presented a progress report on the implementation of the “Job Losses Agreement” signed in 2015. To stem job losses in the mining sector, the department had convened a mining leadership meeting in partnership with the Department of Labour, organised labour and several businesses. The stakeholders identified interventions to save jobs and minimise job losses and they signed a declaration on 31 August 2015. The interventions include enhancing productivity and managing cost pressures, facilitating the sale of distressed and other mining assets, supporting mine workers when job losses cannot be avoided and streamlining the process for downscaling.
DMR reported at its 2 March meeting in Parliament that the “Job Losses Agreement” has up to now saved about 16 000 jobs.
The mining sector had been declining since 1986 when its labour force peaked at around 829 000 jobs. Currently the sector employs just under 500 000 workers. Employment trends in mining showed that the gold sector recorded the highest number of job losses where the labour force contracted from 400 000 in 1994 to just over 100 000 in 2014.
DMR pointed to the decreasing mineral price trends recorded from January to December 2015:
iron ore fell by 21%
the coal price fell by 20%
gold price fell by 15%; and
platinum fell by 31%
Last month the Mineral Resources Minister said that as commodity prices continue to fall, the sector envisioned that approximately 32 000 jobs could be lost. The DMR presentation outlined the interventions and the Department’s way forward to mitigate the challenges experienced by the sector.
Access report of the meeting here and see below for stats on the challenges currently experienced in the mining sector: