Embattled Impala Platinum may be slashing 13,000 jobs in a R2.7bn restructuring of its Rustenburg operations, but in Zimbabwe the 5,942 jobs at its Zimplats operations are safe.
Rustenburg’s are Impala’s primary operations, in which it holds a 96% stake. In Zimbabwe it holds 87% of its Zimplats operation, which consists of four shallow mines and one open-pit operation southwest of Harare.
“Impala’s Zimbabwe operation has always been profitable and a better performer,” said Arnold van Graan, mining analyst at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking. “It’s been ticking along nicely and essentially carrying the can and paying for the losses in Rustenburg.”
The jobs in Zimbabwe represent more than 10% of Impala’s 52,000 employees. For the financial year ended June 30 2017, Impala Rustenburg brought in R14.6bn in revenue, but was also responsible for a R9.86bn loss. Zimplats brought in R7bn in revenue and R576m in profit.
“The performance of Zimbabwe is a function of the ore body. It’s all mechanised; that’s a big differentiator,” Van Graan said. “The conventional labour-intense model, like that of Rustenburg, is facing deteriorating economics as input costs have increased sharply [with] a significant reduction in productivity.”