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Anglo American Platinum takes action to create a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business

15 January 2013
Anglo American Platinum Limited (“Anglo American Platinum” or “the Company”) has concluded the review of its business, announced in February 2012, to create a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business for the long-term benefit of all its stakeholders.

As a result of the review, Anglo American Platinum proposes to:

  • reconfigure its Rustenburg operations into three mines, with aligned processing operations

  • divest the Union mines at the right time – to maximise value under different ownership

  • deliver R3.8 billion of annual benefits by 2015, through efficiency and cost reduction initiatives, including annual savings of R390 million from optimising its overhead structure

  • provide a comprehensive package of support to its employees and communities in Rustenburg and the labour-sending areas

  • create at least 14,000 new jobs to balance the number of jobs that may be affected by the restructuring

The Company’s review of its business is in response to its revised expectations for platinum demand growth and a number of structural changes that have eroded profitability in recent years, including capital intensity, mine depths, ore grades, higher-than-inflation unit cost increases, jewellery demand elasticity and increasing secondary supply of platinum. Anglo American Platinum has previously stated that a number of its mines have been under considerable economic pressure for some time. The continued operation of unprofitable shafts within the current configuration, and in light of the Company’s revised demand and cost expectations, is not sustainable.

Anglo American Platinum therefore proposes to reconfigure its Rustenburg operations into a sustainable 320-350,000oz platinum producer across three operating mines. Four unsustainable, high-cost shafts, namely Khuseleka 1 and 2 and Khomanani 1 and 2, will be put on long-term care and maintenance. As a result the production profile will be reduced by approximately 400,000oz per annum with a baseline production target of 2.1 – 2.3 million oz per annum.

The Rustenburg processing operations will also be reconfigured to align with the revised mining footprint, which may include closing the Waterval UG2 Concentrator and No. 2 Smelting Furnace.

Anglo American Platinum believes that the Union mines (“Union”) are likely to be of greater value under different ownership, particularly in comparison to the other attractive growth options in the Company’s portfolio, and it therefore proposes to divest Union at the right time. In the interim, it is proposed that Union be reconfigured to protect near-term value, by stopping mining activities at the Union North Declines, combining Union North and South Shafts into one operation and putting the Mortimer Merensky concentrator on long-term care and maintenance. The restructuring of joint venture operations has also been reviewed in order to optimise long-term profitability and competitiveness. This may include rationalisation of farm boundaries to optimise life-of-mine extensions and other commercial considerations.

Prevailing and forecast market conditions necessitate cash preservation and the optimal allocation of capital. The proposed restructuring of the operations will ensure more effective capital allocation towards the Company’s mines that are best placed to sustain and create employment over the long term. The Company proposes to reduce its planned capital expansion expenditure over the next 10 years by approximately 25% to R100 billion to focus investment on low-cost, high-margin projects.

In line with the proposed changes to Anglo American Platinum’s mining and processing operations footprint, the Company proposes to deliver R3.8 billion of annual benefits by 2015 through cost reduction and efficiency improvements, including savings of R390 million to be achieved through a redesign of the Company’s overhead structure.

As a result of the proposed changes to the business, a total of up to 14,000 jobs may be affected, 13,000 of which will be in the Rustenburg area.

Anglo American Platinum will continue to take its social responsibilities seriously, particularly to its employees and surrounding communities, and proposes to provide a comprehensive package of support to any affected employees and communities. In particular, the Company will target the creation of at least 14,000 jobs - an equivalent number of jobs to those that may be affected by the restructuring. The job creation initiatives will focus on housing, infrastructure and small business development in Rustenburg and the labour-sending areas.

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, says:

“The platinum business has attractive underlying fundamentals, but we are facing tough decisions to restore profitability to our operations. We must evolve to align the business with our expectations of the platinum market’s long-term dynamics and address the structural changes that have eroded profitability over time. We have reviewed our business across the entire value chain, building upon the steps taken to improve operational performance in recent years, and will be consulting extensively with our stakeholders in relation to our proposed changes.

“We have designed a comprehensive social plan to ensure that we can compensate for any necessary labour restructuring and make a positive difference through job creation. By creating a sustainable, competitive and profitable business, we will be in a stronger position to continue substantial investment, provide more secure and stable employment, and to benefit our customers, suppliers, shareholders – which include more than one million beneficiaries in our local communities and key labour sending areas via our Alchemy community share ownership programme and some 48,000 employees in our Kotula employee share scheme – and the South African economy as a whole.”

For further information, please contact:

Kgapu Mphahlele
+27 (0) 11 373 6239

Mary-Jane Morifi
+27 (0) 11 373 6638

Mpumi Sithole
+27 (0) 11 373 6246

Notes to editors:

Anglo American Platinum Limited is a member of the Anglo American plc Group and is the world’s leading primary producer of platinum group metals. The Company is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE). Its mining, smelting and refining operations are based in South Africa. Elsewhere in the world, the Company owns Unki Platinum Mine in Zimbabwe and is actively exploring in Brazil. Anglo American Platinum has a number of joint ventures with several historically disadvantaged South African consortia as part of its commitment to the transformation of the mining industry. Anglo American Platinum is committed to the highest standards of safety and continues to make a meaningful and sustainable difference in the development of the communities around its operations.

Anglo American plc is one of the world’s largest mining companies, is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. Anglo American’s portfolio of mining businesses spans bulk commodities – iron ore and manganese, metallurgical coal and thermal coal; base metals – copper and nickel; and precious metals and minerals – in which it is a global leader in both platinum and diamonds. Anglo American is committed to the highest standards of safety and responsibility across all its businesses and geographies and to making a sustainable difference in the development of the communities around its operations. The Company’s mining operations, extensive pipeline of growth projects and exploration activities span southern Africa, South America, North America, Australia, Asia and Europe.