No. 14 Shaft
at Impala’s
Rustenburg mine
Johannesburg, South Africa — 05 June 2012

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited, the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal, has revealed that about 3,000 workers have started an unauthorised strike after an employee was dismissed from one of its South African mines.

Workers didn’t report for duty at shaft No. 14 in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, company spokesman Bob Gilmour told Bloomberg News by phone. “They are protesting the disciplinary action,” he said.
The shaft didn’t operate at all yesterday. Fin24 quotes Gilmour as saying: “We are trying to resolve this as soon as possible.”
Spokespeople for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which represents more than 50% of employees at Impala, didn’t answer calls. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) didn’t know about the strike, spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said by phone.

Last year, Impala fired 17,200 workers for participating in a six-week stoppage that halted output from the world’s biggest platinum mine. The company later reinstated most of the employees. A round of mining strikes in recent months, fuelled by labour-union rivalry, has threatened a turnaround in the continent’s largest economy, which grew at the slowest pace since a 2009 recession in the first quarter.

Producers in South Africa are struggling with higher costs as demand wanes, prompting companies including Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest miner of the metal, to consider cutting back operations and firing workers.

More of Impala’s shafts are producing at a loss as prices decline and costs rise, it said on May 2. The company is assessing the operations to determine their viability, it added.

Source: Bloomberg News and Fin24. For more information, click here.