To end ‘ il­le­gal ’ strike

Sunday World - - World Of Business - AN­DRIES MAHLANGU and BUSI­NESS LIVE

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

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