Strikers, who have already halted operations at Anglo American Platinum, have disrupted South Africa’s mining sector by stopping activity at all the mines of AngloGold Ashanti Limited (ADR) (NYSE:AU). South African mines contribute about 33 percent of AngloGold’s total worldwide gold production.
The strikes began on August 10, when the workers at Lonmin Platinum mine started demanding higher salaries. And their strike continues till this date. It has now spread to all over the mining sector in South Africa. On Monday, the labor unrest reached further to the transport sector. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) said that over 20,000 transport employees are demanding a 12 percent pay hike. A SATAWU leader said that over a thousand workers are marching towards Durban, and they will further move to Johannesburg. According to the reports, strikers threw stones at the vehicles driving by.
AngloGold Ashanti Limited (ADR) (NYSE:AU) said that strikers hindered night shift mining at the company’s Vaal River and West Wits sites. Workers at Kopanang mine have already been on strike since September 20. A total of 36,000 workers at three operations are on strike, but AngloGold Ashanti said they haven’t made any demands yet.
On the other hand, hundreds of workers at the Anglo American Platinum Mine met at Bleskop stadium in Rustenburg to discuss their demands from the company. Finally, they met with the Amplats management yesterday, to demand a monthly pay of of 12,500 rand ($1560). Strikers have given the company seven days to respond, but the strike will continue.
Amplats’ CEO, Chris Griffith, has asked the employees to get back to work, else they may face disciplinary action. “We have repeatedly urged our employees to come back to work, and I do so again. Our Rustenburg mining operations are under considerable economic pressure and their future is already under review,” he said. Amplats is the world’s biggest producer of platinum.
Disruption in mining could cost the South African economy heavily. The country produces 75 percent of the global platinum alone. South Africa is the fourth largest chrome producer, and ranked No.5 in gold production.