Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has met with the CEO of Sibanye Gold Neal Froneman and his executives, following the company's announcement of planned retrenchments.
The Minister met with the mining company on Friday as part of his programme of engaging with mining right holders and other key stakeholders in the industry.
"There is a Stakeholder Declaration which was signed by stakeholders on 31 August 2015. In terms of that Declaration, retrenchments are to be taken only as a last resort, after all other options outlined in the Declaration have been exhausted.
"As a responsible Government we are therefore concerned about the trend we have noticed recently on retrenchment announcements, and we continue to urge all stakeholders to be more responsible in how these planned retrenchments are announced, as they impact on thousands of lives and livelihoods," Minister Zwane said.
In this regard, the Minerals and Petroleum Board - appointed by the Minister in terms of section 57 of the Act - is in the process of appointing independent experts to assess the ore body at affected operations, to ensure that the sterilization of minerals is avoided.
"We want to, as far as possible, ensure that we can keep the operations open, if they can be viably mined by other operators," he said.
The Minister further wishes to remind companies that the Section 52 process in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), and Section 189 process of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) should be adhered to, in order to avoid the creation of uncertainty in the industry.
Section 52 of the MPRDA states that the holder of a mining right remains responsible for the implementation of the processes provided in the Labour Relations Act pertaining to the management of downscaling and retrenchment, until the Minister of Mineral Resources has issued a closure certificate to the holder concerned.