Mining giant Anglo American Platinum has announced plans to close four mine shafts in South Africa and cut up to 14,000 jobs.
The vast majority of the job cuts would be in the city of Rustenburg, where at least 46 people were killed in mine-related unrest last year.
In a statement Tuesday, the company, also known as Amplats, indicated the cuts are a result of slowing demand for platinum and said the operation of “unprofitable shafts” is not sustainable.
Amplats said it lost money in 2012 after posting profits the previous year.
The company said it would try to create jobs in other sectors to try to make up for the cuts.
According to the French News Agency, National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the union was “shocked” by Amplats' proposed cuts and said the reductions would be a “disaster for the economy.”
Amplats and other mining firms were hit by a wave of strikes last year after police fired on striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine near Rustenberg last August, killing 34 people. The incident was the single deadliest police-related incident in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.