Work underway at one
of Xstrata’s coal
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 November 2011 – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has agreed to bring the curtain down on a strike which saw the South African coal operations of UK-listed diversified group, Xstrata, grind to a halt for seven days last month.

Miningmx reports that Xstrata’s ferrochrome producing operations in South Africa were also affected by the strike in which some 12,000 workers downed tools. The union criticised the fact that Xstrata’s proposed ESOP (employee share ownership programme) would have failed to distribute evenly some 3% of profits by the operations if adopted.

In terms of the agreement, Xstrata has promised to distribute the proceeds of the ESOP evenly while government’s Mineral Resources Department has agreed to recognise Xstrata’s ESOP as compliant with the Mining Charter.

The outcome is that Xstrata will receive the necessary credits to meet its 26% BEE ownership obligations across both its coal and alloys divisions, while operations will continue at Xstrata. It is estimated that Xstrata lost some 200,000t in coal production, although the group has not verified this estimate.

“We applaud both NUM and Xstrata on the co-operative spirit that they demonstrated during these negotiations in the national interest”, said Sandile Nogxina, special advisor to mines minister Susan Shabangu and mediator in the dispute.

Xstrata SA’s coal division is currently accelerating production 45% to export 18Mtgpa.

The NUM agreed that its workers would return last week after Shabangu directly intervened in the dispute. It confirmed its members would continue work at Xstrata’s operations.