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May 13, 2014

Technology trumps tradition in bid to end South Africa mine strike

MTHATHA, South Africa (Reuters) – When the world’s top three platinum firms opted to tackle South Africa’s worst mining strike by sidestepping the militant AMCU union, they faced a huge logistical challenge: how to contact 70,000 men spread across the country and cowed by violence.

With many workers sitting out the four-month strike at home in rural areas such as the Eastern Cape, the answer was a two-pronged approach combining ancient and modern – a reflection of the split personality of Africa’s most developed economy.

May 12, 2014

At least one worker killed at Lonmin mine in South Africa – police

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) – At least one Lonmin
worker was killed on Monday in South Africa as he
reported for work at their strike-hit platinum mine, a police
spokesman said, threatening the firm’s plans to end the walkout
this week.

A spokesman for Lonmin confirmed one death and said the
company had also been informed of three more in the Rustenburg
area, although the circumstances were still unknown.

May 12, 2014

Two workers killed at Lonmin mine in South Africa: union

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Two Lonmin workers were killed on Monday in South Africa as they reported for work at their strike-hit platinum mine, a mineworkers union said, threatening the firm’s plans to end the walkout this week.

Lonmin chief executive Ben Magara confirmed one employee was killed in what he called a “a very sad incident”, but provided no other details on a conference call with reporters.

May 9, 2014

Lonmin aims for May 14 restart to end S.Africa platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG, May 9 (Reuters) – South African platinum
producer Lonmin is preparing to restart operations next
week after taking its latest wage offer directly to striking
miners, hoping to end the country’s longest and most costly
strike.

The 15-week strike over pay by the Association of
Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has also hit Anglo
American Platinum and Impala Platinum, jointly
costing them about $1.5 bln in revenue.

May 9, 2014

Lonmin aims for May 14 restart in challenge to S.Africa platinum strike

JOHANNESBURG, May 9 (Reuters) – South African platinum
producer Lonmin is laying the groundwork to restart its
operations next week after a concerted effort to woo striking
miners back to work by taking its latest wage offer directly to
them.

This points to a possible end game in the 15-week strike by
the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU),
the longest and most costly ever for South Africa’s mines, which
has also hit Anglo American Platinum and Impala
Platinum.

Apr 27, 2014

End game nears on South Africa’s strike-hit platinum belt

JOHANNESBURG, April 28 (Reuters) – The end game to South
Africa’s big platinum strike is drawing near after the producers
said they would take their latest wage offer directly to
employees after marathon wage talks to end the 13-week strike
collapsed on Thursday.

South Africa’s longest and most damaging mining strike in
living memory is not about to come to an abrupt end as both
sides strive to win rank and file hearts and minds in a high
stakes war of attrition on the platinum belt.

Apr 27, 2014

Election violence flares in South Africa’s platinum belt

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Police used water cannon and stun grenades to disperse rioters in South Africa’s strike-hit platinum belt on Sunday after a government minister was attacked by rock-throwing protesters while campaigning for the May 7 election.

Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane told Reuters a community hall, municipal center and the house of a councillor for the ruling ANC were burnt down. He would not identify the rioters but local media and union leaders said the minister had been attacked by members of the striking AMCU miners’ union.

Apr 27, 2014

Election violence flares on S.Africa’s platinum belt

JOHANNESBURG, April 27 (Reuters) – Violence erupted on South
Africa’s platinum belt on Sunday when members of the striking
AMCU union attacked sports minister Fikile Mbalula as he
campaigned in the area for the ruling ANC in May 7 elections,
union officials and local media said.

SABC radio, the public broadcaster, said the minister had to
be whisked away in a bulletproof car when AMCU members set upon
him and ANC activists, pelting them with rocks, as they went
door to door in Freedom Park, a shantytown northwest of
Johannesburg.

Apr 25, 2014

Sibanye seen as likely buyer for Anglo’s ageing platinum mines

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – If Anglo American (AAL.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) pushes ahead to divest underperforming platinum assets, a sale to a small South African company that specializes in squeezing profit out of mines nearing the end of their lives is seen as the most likely option.

Anglo’s platinum unit Amplats (AMSJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and its rivals are battling an almost 13-week-old mining strike in South Africa over wages, which has slashed about 40 percent of global production of the precious metal.

Apr 25, 2014

In platinum’s war of attrition, capital has labour out-gunned

JOHANNESBURG, April 25 (Reuters) – Labour brought a machete
to a gunfight with management in South Africa’s platinum belt.
Small wonder it looks set to lose.

South Africa’s big platinum strike has highlighted issues
ranging from cash reserves to changing market dynamics that have
curtailed labour’s ability to influence prices. The result has
been to expose the weakness of the country’s miners in any
confrontation with producers.

    • About Ed

      "I cover commodities in southerrn Africa, a region that I have returned to after spending over four years covering religion, politics and the Great Recession in America. I am a Canadian citizen and grew up in Nova Scotia."
      Joined Reuters:
      1995
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