Patrice Motsepe tells thousands of workers it’s over as his Nkomati Mine closes down

The employer says the Badplaas mine has reached the end of its “viable economic life”.


South African mining guru Patrice Motsepe is currently sending thousands of workers home as his Nkomati nickel mine is set to close down in no time. 

Motsepe distributed the letters to the workers on 1 July 2019 and in the letters he tells the workers that this “ramp down” will “regrettably impact jobs”.

The mine is reportedly struggling to make profits. Early this year it recorded a headline loss of R186m, which forced it’s owners at African Rainbow Mineral and Norilsk to take an attributable impairment of R892m against the operation.

Nkomati, which is situated between Badplaas and Machadodorp, was not able to sell all the metal it produced between June to December 2018 while nickel prices were dropping and resulting in a negative market-to-market adjustment of R158m.

In the letters, signed by Nkomati Mine general manager David Malunga, Nkomati says for the past few years they have been struggling to make money from the mine and had tried all they could “to manage and address” the problem. 

“The most likely outcome is that operations will be ramped down over the next 12 and 14 months, thereafter it will be placed on care and maintainance,” said Malunga.



He added the contract they have with main sub-contractor Aveng Moolmans came to an end on 30 June 2019 and it’s expected the contractor and scores of others falling behind him will also bleed jobs. 

It is expected that current Nkomati workers will loose jobs in the next 12 months, according to the general manager. 

“The mine commits to following a responsible process in managing the ramp down to care and maintenance in line with our values and with consideration of our employees and our communities.

“We are engaging with government, union representatives and other stakeholders,” Malunga said in the 1 July letter approved by Motsepe and shareholders. 

(edited by ZK) 

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