Helena chrome mine,
from where ore
is transported to
the plant by means
of overland conveyors
Johannesburg, South Africa — 31 May 2013

Glencore Xstrata has revealed that three of its chrome mines in South Africa are at a standstill in the wake of 1,500 workers embarking on an illegal strike.

The dispute at the mines near Steelpoort, northeast of Johannesburg in the Limpopo province, adds to long-running friction in the mining industry that has caused production to slow, raised concerns about the economy and sent the rand to new four-year lows, reports Fin24.

“The strike started on Tuesday and all three mines are not in operation,” said Glencore Xstrata chrome spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane. “We have dismissed 200 employees at Helena mine after they failed to return to work after three ultimatums.”

Tsatsawane warned that more employees could be dismissed. Final ultimatums were yet to be issued to strikers at its Magareng and Thorncliffe mines.

He revealed that the workers, most of whom belong to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), had stopped work in solidarity with an individual who claimed he had been assaulted by a shift supervisor.

Dismissal of workers is not likely to go down well with trade unions, already embroiled in a turf war and on the brink of biennial wage negotiations.

South Africa, home to around 75% of the world’s chromite reserves, has become a flashpoint of violent labour strife as AMVCU and the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) battle for members.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.