Sibanye cuts US jobs as platinum prices slump

Neal Froneman

Sibanye Stillwater plans to restructure its US platinum-group metals operations to lower costs after palladium prices slumped this year.

It’s the latest sign that the South African mining company, which has diversified from gold into PGMs and then battery metals, is bracing for a tougher market environment.

It’s already consulting with labor unions in its home country over operating changes that could impact about 7,000 jobs at platinum and gold mines, and this month announced a $500 million convertible bond sale to bolster its balance sheet.

The US restructuring will affect about 100 employees, plus approximately 187 contract workers, Sibanye said in a statement on Wednesday.

It won’t significantly impact output, the company said. Shares of the Johannesburg-based miner gained 1.9% on Wednesday, paring this year’s loss to 52%.

“We have taken decisive action to address costs at the US PGM operations, to ensure the sustainability of these long-life operations during a challenging period of lower than anticipated PGM prices,” CEO Neal Froneman said.

Palladium prices have slid more than 40% in London this year, and recently hit the lowest since 2018.