Johannesburg, South Africa — 17 September 2012 – Industrial action does not necessarily mean that the entire South African mining industry is in crisis, according to the country’s Chamber of Mines.

Chamber spokesman Vusi Mabena says: “We need to understand the causes of the industrial action that is taking place when we have existing wage agreements,” reports Fin24. “Strikes are not taking place across the sector,” he adds, but are restricted to platinum and possibly to gold.” It was a serious generalisation to say that the industry was in crisis.

“When the strikes took place, the platinum industry was already going through hard times,” Mabena added. “A task team from the government and industry had been investigating alternative markets in order for the platinum industry to be sustainable, and when the demands for a salary of R12,500 a month came in, there were already concerns about the sector,” he pointed out.

On Saturday, the Bench Marks Foundation criticised the government, police, and platinum producer Lonmin for firing rubber bullets at residents and protesters in the Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana. Several residents claimed they had been injured when police fired rubber bullets at them.

The Bench Marks Foundation is an independent faith-based organisation monitoring corporate performance, and is involved in the mediation process at the mine.

One resident Melita Ramasedi said she was wounded while watching police breaking up a crowd of protesters. Police also raided a nearby hostel, where a number of people were arrested and a variety of weapons were seized, including knobkerries and pangas.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the arrests were part of a disarmament operation.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.