Sibanye Stillwater announces job cuts at Montana operations

November 30, 2023

Sibanye-Stillwater announced that it will begin repositioning is U.S. platinum group metals operations with anticipated job cuts at its operations in Montana.

In a release, the company said it had “given notice to its employees and contractors, that it will be implementing a restructuring of its US PGM operations to reduce the operating and capital cost structures and ensure sustainability through a lower palladium price environment.”

The company said the plans are expected to affect approximately 100 employees, the majority of which are at the Stillwater Mine with the remainder spread between the East Boulder Mine, the Columbus Metallurgical Complex and Columbus offices as well as remote work locations. This follows attrition of approximately 20 employees since beginning of October 2023.

“The restructuring follows an initial repositioning for the changing macro environment announced in July 2022 (, with the subsequent anticipated decline in the palladium price and impact of ongoing inflationary cost pressures at the operations, necessitating a reduction in the cost structures,” the company wrote.

The restructuring is not expected to significantly impact current 2E mine production or recycling production but will result in significantly lower costs and capital.

”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,” Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater said. “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we will engage frankly and candidly with affected stakeholders during this challenging period.”

In June of 2022, a 500-year flood devastated parts of Montana, including areas near Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations. Three months after the flooding, the company reported revenue losses of more than $100 million during the unplanned shutdown.

The floods on June 12-13 did not impact the underground Stillwater Mine itself, but did wipe out parts of Montana Highway 419, a highway heavily used by the mining operations.

In September, Sibanye Stillwater reported that the company’s profits were down 51 percent from the record profits in the first half of 2021 in part because of the flooding.

The Billings Gazette reported the production suspension had an estimated impact of 60,000 ounces for 2022. The lower mined production also impacted recycling feed rates at the company’s recycling facility, because production from the mine is needed for blending with high grade autocatalyst feedstock.

Palladium prices have dropped more than 40% so far this year, particularly hit by weak demand in China, while primary metal platinum is down 13 percent.

The decline has driven other platinum miners in South Africa to look into reducing their workforce. Impala Platinum Holdings is offering voluntary job cuts, including at its deep-level Rustenburg complex. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has also held talks with the government about potential job cuts.



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