At work at Tshikondeni
“’ a coal mining operation
in the northernmost
South African province of
Pretoria, South Africa — 13 March 2013 – Strikes at Exxaro Resources Limited “’ South Africa’s second-biggest coal producer “’ have spread to a sixth mine in the north of the country.     

Bloomberg News Business Week reports that, according to National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch secretary Mxolisi Hoboyi, output at Tshikondeni “’ a coal operation in the northernmost province of Limpopo “’ stopped yesterday. The mine supplies hard coking coal to ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited’s Vanderbijlpark plant “’ the continent’s biggest steelmaking facility.

“The strike is also continuing as per yesterday’s situation at Matla, Arnot, Grootegeluk, Leeuwpan and Inyanda,” Exxaro said in a statement. “There is ongoing engagement with the union.”

Exxaro, which has 11 production sites, supplies all the power-station coal it mines to electricity utility Eskom Holdings SOC Limited, the Pretoria-based company said on its website. Eskom relies on coal for 80% of its power generation.

The strikes at Arnot and Matla, which started on March 5, related to the non-payment of bonuses, Exxaro said in a statement.

The Arnot operation supplies the fuel to an Eskom power station with installed capacity of 2,100 megawatts. Protesters were preventing trucks loaded with coal at Arnot, near Middelburg in the Mpumalanga province, from delivering the fuel to the electricity plant and were burning tires, Hoboyi claimed.

Solidarity, another trade union with workers at Exxaro, has no mandate from its members to join in the strikes, Louis Pretorius, the national organiser for mining at the union, said by e-mail.  “What is disconcerting is that the coal supply to Eskom power stations might be interrupted if the strikes continue,” he added.

Source: Bloomberg News Business Week. For more information, click here.