One of the new
shafts at Impala’s
Rustenburg operations
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 February 2012 – Impala Platinum “’ the world’s second-largest platinum producer “’ has expressed the hope that most of the workforce at its Rustenburg operations are being persuaded by union leaders to return to work.

A violent labour dispute at the world’s largest single platinum mine has already cost Implats at least 80,000 ounces in lost output as the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union tries to recruit from a workforce that has traditionally been aligned with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

The dispute centered on a bonus offered to only part of the workforce, and has escalated into a violent struggle between competing unions.

Implats says it is hopeful that the workforce will return soon, and NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka Implats was also cautiously optimistic. “We are hopeful that developments are leading to the end of the protest action,” he said.

Illegal strike action at Rustenburg led Implats to fire over 17,000 workers. The company said the re-employment process was continuing with more than 8,000 people re-hired to date. These include 995 rock drill operators, but the company has said it needs at least 2,000 before it can start hauling platinum out of the ground again.