Pretoria, South Africa — 12 March 2013 – The strike which originated at two South African coal mines owned by Exxaro Resources Limited has spread to a third operation that supplies what will be the world’s fourth-biggest coal-fired power plant.
“All employees at the Grootegeluk mine in the northern Limpopo province have stopped work in protest over the payment of bonuses,” National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch secretary Mxolisi Hoboyi told Bloomberg News by mobile phone, adding that the union didn’t initiate the strike.
“They will go to work when they’re told when their bonus will be paid,” he said.
Meanwhile Fin24 reports that the NUM says talks with Exxaro are not bearing fruit, as the wildcat strike action spreads, sparking fears that electricity supplies could be hit. The union said talks with Exxaro bosses had not yet yielded results.
The strikes that have halted output at the Arnot and Matla mines in Mpumalanga province started on March 5 and have yet to be resolved, Hoboyi said. Management, workers and union representatives have been meeting in an effort to end the strikes.
Grootegeluk, which employs about 2,000 people, provides South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Limited with coal for its Matimba station, and is ramping up output of the fuel to supply Medupi “’ the 4,800-megawatt plant that will be the world’s fourth-largest coal-fired facility.
Exxaro’s projected total spending for Grootegeluk has increased by US$77 million to US$1.1 billion because of labour unrest, steel shortages, and additional scope that’s been added to project, the company revealed in a statement yesterday.