IMPLATS, NUM MEET
To end ‘ illegal ’ strike
IMPALA Platinum and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) met till late yesterday in an attempt to resolve the 17-day “illegal ” strike that has cost the platinum producer R1.2bn in lost revenue as of February 14.
Implats spokeswoman Alice Lourens told I-net Bridge/businesslive that the company would meet the union’s representatives to communicate the way forward regarding the company’s Rustenburg mine.
The platinum producer has to date re-employed 7 000 workers out of 17 200 staff who had been dismissed after their participation in the strike.
The strike was triggered by rock drill operators who demanded bonus increases, according to NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
According to Anglo American plc’s calculations, the South African platinum mining industry lost 300 000 ounces of production in 2011 due to unrelated stoppages, CEO Cynthia Carroll revealed on Friday.
Speaking during a conference call, Carroll said the platinum industry faced challenges in South Africa, including rising inflation, labour and energy costs and safety stoppages.
She noted that the platinum industry faced serious stoppages last year and inspectors were shutting down whole mines as opposed to sections of mines where safety discrepancies were identified.
She said Anglo was working with the Department of Mineral Resources
– and the department was now taking a different approach.
Anglo is looking at various initiatives and has several near-term quick fixes. She said the group was spending time with the Department of Mineral Resources to get them to take the right approach – and the department is showing signs of doing so.
Anglo ’ s platinum mines had 81 Section 54 DMR safety stoppages in 2011, compared to 36 in 2010.
“Platinum is continuing to work with the government and labour departments towards zero harm,” the group said.
Despite a downward trend since 2007, Anglo’s platinum mines had a disappointing safety performance in 2011, with 12 fatal accidents.
She said the group was focusing on the need to get the industry back to the returns it saw in 2008.
Carroll noted that returns in the platinum industry in general had declined in recent years, and this was not acceptable. She said the group would be embarking on a review to assess the optimal configuration of the platinum portfolio to maximise shareholder returns through the cycle.
Anglo ’ s platinum division generated an operating profit of $890m (R6,8bn) in the year ended December 2011, a $53m (R410m) increase on a year earlier, thanks to higher metal prices, which were offset by higher costs driven by labour and electricity rate increases. – I-net Bridge