May 09, 2013 01:27 PM EDT

Amplats to Unveil Job Cuts as Tension Soars: Report

Anglo American's platinum arm, the world's largest source of the metal, could announce a restructuring plan as early as Thursday that will sharply scale backjob losses as it tries to balance out cost cuts and the threat of labor unrest.

Amplats is being widely watched by the broader platinum industry for how much metal it will take off the market, possibly driving up prices by ensuring supply and demand fundamentals are more closely matched.

The company had planned to slash 14,000 jobs and mothball two mines to pull back to profit but industry sources have told Reuters that the final plan would be pared back, with as few as 5,000 jobs cut.

According to Reuters, militant workers have signaled they will launch protest strikes even if the job cuts fall far short of the initial target. Social tensions are running high after violence rooted in a labor turf war killed over 50 people last year and sparked illegal strikes that hammered production.

Amplats has been locked in talks with the Department of Mineral Resources and union's right up to the last minute. It had told the market to expect an update on the consultation process this week and Friday is the final day to meet that commitment.

The company could either issue a holding statement, giving it time until next week to resolve any last-minute hold ups, or lay out its revised plans.

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