Johannesburg, South Africa — 08 October 2012 – After more than a week of threatening that it would dismiss workers, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has brought the axe down on the jobs of 12,000 workers at four of the five units of its Rustenburg operations.
Newly appointed Amplats CEO Chris Griffith said the company was committed to introducing centralised bargaining and to considering bringing wage negotiations forward. But with strikes now spreading to its refining operations as well as the Tumela (Union) and Dishaba (Amandelbult) mines, the company said it was not feasible to keep the Rustenberg mines open.
Miningmx reports that three weeks into strike action “’ which has been typified by violence and acrimony, most recently last night with the death of another worker “’ the company has lost 39,000 ounces of production, which is equal to R700 million in revenue.
“Currently, four of the company’s mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines,” Amplats said.
The four units contributed a combined 321,000oz of refined platinum production in the group’s last financial year, about a quarter of total production.
Amplats’ Tumela shaft produced another 260,000oz of refined platinum in the 2011 financial year while Dishaba contributed 150,000oz to total group refined platinum production of 1.5Moz. Both operations are in the Limpopo province.
Strike contagion had also spread to the Mortimer smelting operations while the Rustenburg concentrators, smelters and refineries, and the Bathopele Mine continued to operate normally, it said.
The four affected Rustenburg units are Khuseseleka, Thembelani, Khomanani and Siphumelele. Disciplinary hearings of striking workers had been underway for a week, during which time Amplats had repeatedly asked workers to return to work. Their dismissals were conducted in absentia.
All eyes now fall on the security situation at Rustenburg, where water cannons and other crowd containment measures were in full force last night.
“Anglo American Platinum continues to work with the local authorities and other stakeholders to support the restoration of law and order to the affected areas,” the company said in its statement.
Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.