The headgear of Gold
Fields’ Beatrix mine in
Theunissen, in the
Free State province
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — 26 September 2012 – Strikes at South African gold mines have shut about 39% of capacity, including at AngloGold  Ashanti Limited and Gold Fields Limited, as unofficial walkouts spread across the country in demand of above-inflation pay increases.

Bloomberg News reports that AngloGold, the world’s third-largest gold producer, said all of its South African mines had been halted. Gold Fields also lost about 32,000oz of production after strikes at its KDC and Beatrix operations.

A six-week strike at Lonmin plc’s Marikana mine northwest of Johannesburg claimed 46 lives and ended last week as miners secured pay increases of as much as 22% “’ more than four times the country’s August inflation rate.

“Workers are now demanding wage increases according to the ‘Lonmin settlement’,” David Davis, an SBG Securities Limityed gold analyst, said in a note. “Strike action may well spread from other mines to Harmony’s mines and to other industries.” Coal of Africa Limited and transport workers have also been on strike.

Wage demands and direct action spread as workers sidelined traditional representatives for negotiating with management such as the National Union of Mineworkers, a backer of the governing political party. At Lonmin, workers appointed their own leaders.

Employees are gathering at the Bleskop stadium, where their appointed leaders will report back on a meeting with mine owners yesterday negotiated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the South African Press Association said.

AngloGold workers striking since 10 September at Kopanang were yesterday joined by staff at other operations, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. The strike was peaceful and management had not received any demands so far, Alan Fine, a spokesman for the producer, said by mobile phone. The company produces about 32% of its gold in South Africa.

Gold Fields, the fourth-largest producer, is concerned that threats of violence against staff still working are rising, said spokesman Sven Lunche.

Anglo American Platinum,  the largest producer of the metal, has lost about 20,000oz of output as workers refuse to report for duty at its Rustenburg operation, the company said.

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited, the second-largest platinum producer, raised pay to halt a six-week strike in January and February at Rustenburg, the largest mine producing the metal. Workers have since made new demands, Impala revealed earlier this month.

More than 20,000 freight transport workers are also on strike, demanding a wage increase of 12% .

Harmony Gold Mining Company said it had been unaffected by strikes.

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