Talks to end the three-month wage strike by Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) in the platinum sector appear to be deadlocked again, and Impala Platinum CEO Terence Goodlace has expressed disappointment in the union’s inability to strike a deal.

“For us it’s been very disappointing to have reached the point where we thought we were making fairly good progress, but the fact of the matter is, we are still poles apart. And, if you look at us in particular, we’re probably 50% or 60% off what is being demanded, and for a little while we thought we were getting pretty close,” Goodlace told Business Day TV

This follows the company’s latest settlement offer to push the minimum cash remuneration – the basic wage including allowances – for entry-level underground employees to R12 500 per month by July 2017, but AMCU wants basic monthly pay, excluding bonuses, of 12,500 rand in four years.

“There is a will to solve the strike, certainly from our side, and I get a sense from Amcu’s side as well. We tabled a lot of offers during the process, we were looking at ways to meet the demands and to meet the requirements of our employees but at the same time we’ve always said: ‘Whatever we do must be sustainable and affordable.’ You’ve got to be willing and able and whilst we’re maybe willing, we’re not able because of the economic reality we find ourselves in,” Goodlace revealed.

Currently, Impala is still totally closed. “We have zero people at work. We’re doing zero mining in that area. As far as Implats is concerned all of the subsidiary mines are still operating … in other words on the eastern limb and into Zimbabwe…. But at this stage it doesn’t look likely that we’re going to start up any underground production,” Goodlace said.

The platinum sector has reported revenue losses in excess of R15 billion and employee wage losses of R7 billion since the beginning of the strike on 23 January 2014. Other affected miners are Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin.

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