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Talks break down between South Africa's top three gold producers and striking miners, failing to...

Talks break down between South Africa's top three gold producers and striking miners, failing to reach agreement on pay proposals. Strikes have shut all seven of AngloGold's (AU -1.7%) South African mines, which account for about a third of its total production; two of Gold Fields' (GFI -1%) mines and one operated by Harmony (HMY -0.5%) also are closed.
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  • There are numerous issues amongst the striking workers, though much of this stems from troubles at a platinum mine run by Lonmin. Eventually Lonmin gave a 22% pay hike to workers, which prompted many other miners to strikes, and then led to trucker strikes.

     

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    As the strikes have shifted and grown, some dismissals have happened. South African law mandates conditions for strikes, which have often been ignored, thus we see these termed as "illegal strikes". Some of those laws are for safety issues, while others cover the importance of the mining industry for South Africa. The problem now, as higher worker pay levels seems inevitable, is that some mines will no longer be profitable to run. This could very likely lead to a permanent shutdown of some mines, and a reduction in the overall number of working miners.

     

    Disclosure: long GFI
    15 Oct 2012, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • The silence here in Johannesburg is deafening.
    Zuma and his cabinet are sitting on their hands. Each is more frightened than the next to do or say anything for fear of his political position in the run up to A.N.C. Presidential election. The Mining Minister has gone walk-about and when cornered has nothing to say at all.
    The mine managers appear to be taking a legalistic route but so far have not actually done anything. Whatever possessed Lonmin to use the negotiating strategy of "feeding the wolves" is beyond comprehension.
    N.U.M. the mining affiliate of COSATU ( which is nothing more nor less than the A.N.C. in the workplace and therefore extremely unlikely to actually try to resolve the situation through relatively impartial negotiation tactics) is trying to play catch-up having been caught out in their Nero-esque fantasy of fiddling while everything was burning.
    The media appears to be complicit in some sort of attempt to keep details from public view.
    The new Union on the block--AMCU alleges it is impartial but hey, this is Africa and their are agendas within agendas.
    There are one or two certainties in the current mess:
    * nobody is telling the truth
    * vested interests on all sides are playing a very dangerous game of bravado
    * the costs of re-opening and making safe stopes, developments and access tunnels together with associated electrical, water, and rail facilities at a depth of more than 3 kilometers is such that what was ore can rapidly become waste.
    * total mine resource might be unchanged but you can bet your boots that total mine reserves will need to be re-calculated and the result will be negative.
    The ANC is known to have a well developed and significant Marxist presence within high structures. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the adherents belong more to the Groucho persuasion than the one promoted by Karl.
    All the ingredients for substantial collapse of an economic base of our society are present in the current mess.
    In short, it's a f...k up
    15 Oct 2012, 02:07 PM Reply Like
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