23 January 2014

South Africa: SA Mining - a (Very) Brief Reprieve, but Still On Tenterhooks


The mining industry won a brief reprieve on Wednesday when the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) agreed to postpone industrial action at three gold companies. The more significant strike in platinum, however, begins on Thursday.

Both the union and the mining companies knew this was coming; now we wait and see what happens.

Before AMCU's strike even began, the night shift at Impala Platinum (Implats) was cancelled on Wednesday. The other two affected platinum producers, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin, were due to close on Thursday. The police say they're ready for anything that might come. The state is desperately hoping the strike will be peaceful. AMCU agrees, but there are still doubts as to whether it can control the volatile mineworkers.

"We don't know who's going to pitch up tomorrow so we just wanted to shut down our operations in a safe and controlled manner. Given the recent history in the platinum industry, it's probably the right course of action," Impala's Johan Theron told Eye Witness News. AMCU is the dominant union on the platinum belt and there are fears members might intimidate and attack anyone who wants to work...

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