Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu addresses the media on Tuesday after the Anglo American Platinum announced it is putting four shafts at its Rustenburg complex onto care and maintenance and has earmarked its Union mine for sale . Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu addresses the media on Tuesday after the Anglo American Platinum announced it is putting four shafts at its Rustenburg complex onto care and maintenance and has earmarked its Union mine for sale . Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

MINERAL Resources Minister Susan Shabangu launched a scathing attack against Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), accusing the mine of undermining the department by taking decisions without proper consultation.

Amplats announced on Tuesday morning that it was putting four shafts at its Rustenburg complex into care and maintenance, and that it had earmarked its Union mine for sale, which affects the employment of at least 14,000 people.

Ms Shabangu said the department was not consulted at all by the company about its plans.

"We regard this (decision) as unilateral, but also the company disrespects the regulator in the way that it has made its own decision. It has come up with its own plan, finalised the plan and told us of its decision ... (which) has major implications for our country."

She said the department would investigate the manner in which the company had been mining. She said it was public knowledge that there had been an oversupply of platinum.

"Then you ask yourself, what was its (Amplats’) business plan if today it had to lay of 14,000 people. I do not believe that what happened at Marikana could have lead to this situation. It is quite clear ... the company’s business plan was not properly aligned," she told a press briefing, delayed by more than an hour, in Pretoria.

"Anglo has disappointed this country by contributing to the unemployment of this country, but also by not being the best businesspeople in this country who are able to mine and do business in a sustainable manner," she said.

She said the company had undermined the spirit of the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team, set up in December 2008, with industry stakeholders committing to help the industry manage the effects of the global economic crisis.

She did not say what difference another meeting with the company would have made, nor what solutions the department had put on the table to mitigate the problems experienced by the platinum sector.