Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 26 August 2009 – Aquarius Platinum Limited “’ the world’s fourth-biggest producer of platinum “’ has revealed that certain employees of the principal underground mining contractor, Murray and Roberts Cementation (MRC), working at the company’s Kroondal and Marikana operations, have embarked on unprotected industrial action.
Announcing this in a statement here, Aquarius said that about three-quarters of the underground mining operations at the mines had been affected.
The statement added that this industrial action had come despite a wage settlement of 10.2% agreed between MRC and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Friday. This had resulted in the withdrawal by the union of a strike notice.
Aquarius went on to say that an ultimatum had been served on employees to return to work, failing which the contractor was entitled to terminate employment. The company remained hopeful that the matter could be resolved without resorting to mass dismissals. It pointed out that in meetings with management a number of employees had already indicated that they wished to accept the settlement and return to work.
The company said that if the dismissals occurred there would be an impact on production at Kroondal and Marikana, while employees were engaged and deployed to these operations. Steps to mitigate the impact of the action on the operations were in hand, including milling stockpiles.
The statement added that major maintenance operations, including the relining of the K2 mill previously planned for October 2009, had been rescheduled and would be undertaken this week.