Protesters set alight an ore concentrate truck at Barberton Mines

Pan African Resources has condemned the criminal activity that has resulted in ongoing disruptions at its subsidiary, Barberton Mines.

Company management has stated it is working with all stakeholders, including the South African Police Services (SAPS), to counter the disruption to its operations, and has obtained court interdicts against the individuals perpetuating the illegal activities. Barberton Mines is being supported by the SAPS Public Order Policing division to quell the protests, protect its employees and preserve the mine’s assets.

Company CEO, Cobus Loots, said: “Pan African Resources will not tolerate criminality affecting the safety of our people or the sustainability of our operations. Barberton Mines is a caring and engaged corporate citizen that has a history of socio-economic development in our surrounding communities.

The individuals responsible for this disruption are acting illegally and their actions are threatening the goodwill that has been established between the mine and the surrounding communities, in which Barberton Mines has invested considerable resources."

The individuals responsible for this disruption are acting illegally and their actions are threatening the goodwill that has been established between the mine and the surrounding communities, in which Barberton Mines has invested considerable resources.

Extortion and job promises

Recently, the mine management has witnessed, or been made aware of, several approaches with the intent of extorting money and jobs from the operations through irregular means, including: bribing employees for irregular contracts; and circumventing tender policies and procedures for personal gain, among others.

However, according to the company, having not achieved success through extortion, the individuals and protestors resorted on Tuesday to blocking roads leading to the Barberton operations, destroying mine property – including burning mine vehicles and an ore concentrate truck – threatening employees and preventing them from going to work, and bringing in busloads of protestors from outside the mine’s host communities.

Barberton Mines has the region’s longest running operations (more than 130 years) and is the largest employer. Some 2 617 employees and contractors are currently engaged at the three operations – Fairview, New Consort and Sheba.