R140 million pay cut for South African mining boss

Sibanye Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman received a R56 million payday in 2023 – a significant drop from the R291 million he received in 2021.

Froneman recently said that the fall of Platinum Group Metals (PGMS) prices had the most significant impact on Sibanye’s business following a post-Covid boom.

The price of PGMS dropped significantly amid destocking from the auto industry and weaker-than-expected demand from China.

PGMs are primarily used in catalytic converters in internal combustion engines (ICE) to reduce their emissions. However, the rise of electric cars has called into question the need for a tool that reduces emissions.

For the financial year ended 31 December 2023, the group reported a R37.9 billion loss after taking an impairment against its US palladium mine.

Amid the group’s financial woes, it said it laid off 2,600 workers in February. This was to ensure the sustainability of its South African PGM operations.

However, the jobs bloodbath is set to continue, with the group again entering into Section 189A consultations earlier this month.

4,000 jobs in South Africa are on the line in the latest set of retrenchments, with the group hoping to restructure its gold operations and Southern Africa region services functions.

The group’s executives also felt the pain amid the group’s struggles, with the total single-figure remuneration among the ten highest-ranking executives dropping from R795 million in 2023 to R588 million in 2022 and then R235 million in 2023.

Froneman’s pay has often been a point of contention, with the CEO earning an eye-watering R291 million in single-figure remuneration in 2021, even if a large amount of this was linked to long-term share incentives awarded in 2018.

The figure then dropped to just over R198 million in 2022 before hitting R56 million in 2023.

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