- February 22, 2019
- Posted in Africa
Workers led by South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) plan to down tools at gold and platinum mines next week in support of colleagues at Sibanye-Stillwater who are striking over wages and job cuts.
AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Anglo American Platinum Lonmin, Village Main Reef and DRDGold have received notices of the strike action, which is expected to begin on Feb. 28 and last until March 7, industry body, the Minerals Council, said on Thursday.
Sibanye-Stillwater last week said it could cut nearly 6,000 jobs at its gold mining operations, where AMCU has been on strike since mid-November over a wage dispute.
AMCU reached wage agreements with AngloGold, Harmony Gold and Village Main Reef last year.
South Africa is home to the world’s biggest platinum group metals deposits and accounts for just over 90 percent of global production.
Sibanye’s full-year loss, hit by multiple disruptions at its South African gold operations and a deferred tax charge, was limited by the strong performance of the company’s U.S. and South African platinum group metals (PGM) operations
Lonmin’s South African listed shares fell 8.29 percent, while its London-listed shares slipped 6 percent by 1215 GMT after it said it had received a strike notice.
The miner said it was in the process of obtaining legal advice on AMCU’s notice.
Lonmin, which is in the process of being bought by Sibanye, has been crippled by soaring costs and subdued platinum prices.
The firm has been cutting spending to conserve cash and retain a positive cash balance, one of the conditions upon which Sibanye’s takeover is contingent.
“Any disruption is obviously bad news. The deal with Sibanye hasn’t been finalised yet and Sibanye wants Lonmin to be in a cash positive position so obviously if there is a prolonged strike this could affect things,” said Yuen Low, mining analyst at Shore Capital.
Workers led by the AMCU also plan to extend their strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold shafts to its platinum mines next week, the company said on Thursday.
“We have strike plans. It’s not going to change our view,” said Sibanye chief executive Neal Froneman.
AMCU said in a strike notice document seen by Reuters that it intends to strike at Sibanye’s platinum operations for the duration of the protected strike at its gold mines and until the dispute is resolved.
Sibanye’s full-year loss, hit by multiple disruptions at its South African gold operations and a deferred tax charge, was limited by the strong performance of the company’s U.S. and South African platinum group metals (PGM) operations, the firm said during its results on Thursday.