While the five-month wage strike in South Africa’s platinum sector may have finally been resolved, the repercussions on the industry, the country and particularly the affected communities are long-term. Sadly, it’s the workers themselves, their communities that rely on the mine workers and the parallel informal and formal commercial businesses that have been the hardest hit, Warren Beech, partner and head of mining at Hogan Lovells, tells Vicky Sidler.
The five-month platinum strike has been the longest and costliest that South Africa had ever seen, with over 70 000 miners downing tools at Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin. It had cost the companies about R24 billion in lost output and workers R10.6 billion in wages by the time it ended on 24 June.
The strike pushed the economy into contraction in the first three months of this year as mining output plunged, especially because South Africa accounts for more than twothirds of mined production of the metal.