Johannesburg, South Africa — 07 November 2012 – AngloGold Ashanti has again suspended operations at its Mponeng mine in South Africa “’ the deepest mine in the world “’ after a sit-in protest just two days after striking miners had returned to work.
Reuters reports that the disruption is the latest in a wave of often violent wildcat action to hit the mining sector in the world’s top platinum producer. Most of the strikes are over, but sporadic protests suggest the friction between miners and their bosses is far from over.
AngloGold spokesman Alan Fine said that while the latest protest had been resolved by Monday evening, the company had decided not to send workers underground because it was not satisfied it could do so safely. “We are concerned about the safety of people and underground assets. Operations have been suspended and management is considering its next steps," Fine added.
Striking miners had just returned to duty at Mponeng, which is more than 4km deep, and AngloGold’s TauTona mine after operations had been suspended at both last week.
All of South Africa’s major gold producers have been hit by often violent illegal strikes at some or all of their operations in the last three months as labour discontent in the platinum mines spilled over into other sectors.
Gold Fields, the fourth largest bullion producer, said all its three South African operations were back at work, but a smaller operator said it had been hit by a strike. Junior miner Village Main Reef said employees at its Buffelsfontein Gold Mine had embarked on a wildcat strike as of the night shift on Monday.
The wave of strikes is the worst industrial unrest to rock the South African mining sector since the end of apartheid, although most of the roughly 80,000 workers who had downed tools in the last three months were now back underground.
Anglo American Platinum, the world’s top producer of the precious metal, is still struggling to get more than 30,000 workers back to work, with an illegal strike at its Rustenburg operations now in its eighth week.
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.