Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 January 2012 – Impala Platinum has raised the prospect that production at its Rustenburg mine will be negatively affected for up to two weeks, following an announcement that the world’s second largest platinum producer had begun to fire 5,000 rock drill operators (RDOs) who had downed tools on Friday.
“The process of firing and rehiring could take one to two weeks,” said company spokesperson Alice Lourens. “The RDOs will have to reapply for their positions. We will start rehiring from today,” she said, adding that only nine RDOs had reported for work yesterday.
Meanwhile Miningmx reports that National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the dispute turned on an 18% wage increase provided to miners excluding RDOs, at Rustenburg where recent turnover has been around 20% of the total workforce. “This has been badly managed by Impala,” said Seshoka. “Impala said at the close of its wage discussions in October that it couldn’t provide any more monetary benefits. It said it didn’t have the money.”
“The NUM will engage with the RDOs today,” he said.
Lourens also confirmed earlier reports that some 3,000 to 3,500 in platinum ounces would be lost per day. This was equal to some R35 million per day in revenue “’ roughly 1% of Impala’s revenue in its last financial year. Shares in Impala were relatively untroubled, however. The share was down less than a percent yesterday and had fallen 2.4% since the work stoppage was called.