(MENAFN - AFP) Top global platinum miner Anglo American Platinum said on Friday it was to launch talks with the South African government over the company's restructuring plans which threaten 14,000 jobs.
The company and the mineral resources ministry "have agreed to engage positively during the next 90 days to...determine how they can best work together to achieve their shared objective for the benefit of all stakeholders," it said in a statement
Amplats said on Tuesday said it intended to restructure its strike-hit local operations, which may include the closing down of four shafts and selling a mine considered unsustainable.
South African authorities were infuriated by the move, which could result in up to 14,000 job losses.
Mines Susan Shabangu said Amplats' decision was "regrettable" that the firm had informed the ministry about its plans only seven days ago.
Preliminary "constructive discussions" were held with government on Thursday, said Amplats.
Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith, welcomed the engagement with Shabangu "in order to reach our shared objective of creating a sustainable, competitive and profitable platinum business for the benefit of all stakeholders and for South Africa".
Operations of the world's number one platinum producer have been crippled by rolling strikes over wages that hit the country's mining sector over the last six months.
The dispute halted production at some Amplats mines.
The firm warned Monday that its 2012 earnings would probably show a loss of 491 to 628 cents per share, down from a profit of 1,365 cents per share in 2011.
The anticipated job cuts would deal a major blow for the country already buckling under a 25.5 percent jobless rate.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) top executive Gwede Mantashe, Friday told journalists that the party had proposed to the mines department that shafts which had become unsustainable, or been "mothballed", be put up for auction.
The proposal was "that mines with mothball shafts must actually give up their licences for those shafts and those shafts must be put up for public auction for companies that want to operate."