News / Africa

S. Africa Platinum Strike Talks to Resume Friday

FILE - A miner gestures as they gather at Wonderkop stadium outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, Jan. 30, 2014.
FILE - A miner gestures as they gather at Wonderkop stadium outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, Jan. 30, 2014.
Reuters
Talks between the world's top three platinum producers and South Africa's striking AMCU union will resume on Friday in an effort to end a five-week stoppage over wages, the chief executive of Impala Platinum (Implats) said.
 
The industrial action has taken out more than 40 percent of global output of the precious metal used to make catalytic converters for automobiles and threatens to derail the sector's recovery after damaging wildcat strikes in 2012.
 
Implats, the world's second-largest producer behind Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), reported an 11 percent rise in half-year profit on Thursday.
 
However, the latest strike in the heart of South Africa's platinum belt, northwest of Johannesburg, is costing the company 2,800 ounces a day in lost production and 60 million rand ($5.5 millon) a day in revenue.
 
CEO Terence Goodlace told reporters on Thursday that he had recently spoken directly with Joseph Mathunjwa, the president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), members of which have also downed tools at Amplats and Lonmin .
 
That the two sides are talking at the top level signals a renewed drive to end the stoppage, though the companies and AMCU remain poles apart on the issue of wages. Goodlace reiterated that demands for a more than doubling of basic wages to 12,500 rand a month are “absolutely unobtainable”.
 
The producers have offered increases of up to 9 percent.
 
No dividend
 
Implats reported headline earnings per share up 10.8 percent to 860 million rand ($79.5 million), or 142 cents per share, in the six months to Dec. 31.
 
It said that lower metal prices over the period “were more than offset by the weaker average rand-dollar exchange rate, which benefits South African mining companies that price their commodity in dollars.
 
The company's Zimbabwe unit, Zimplats, has been a bright spot, with platinum sales for the period rising more than 63 percent to 115,800 ounces.
 
Implats, however, cannot avoid the shadow cast by the wage dispute at its key Rustenburg operations.
 
“Given the current industrial relations climate and as part of the group's cash preservation measures, the board has decided not to declare an interim dividend,” Implats said.
 
Goodlace said the stoppage is a blow to the company's recovery efforts. “It does stunt what we achieved,” he acknowledged, adding that it will take time to reboot operations once a resolution is found.
 
During a subsequent presentation he said it could take “one or two months” to restore production to pre-strike levels because workers would have to be retrained and many steps, including safety procedures, would need to be taken.
 
The strike has been marred by violence, though not on the scale of 2012, when dozens of people were killed.
 
The poisonous atmosphere was underscored by a police statement on Wednesday that said two AMCU members have been charged with attempted murder in relation to an attack on a non-striking employee at Amplats' Khuseleka shaft when he arrived for work on Feb. 3.
 
The union members are alleged to have stripped the Amplats employee before taking him to a dumping site where he was assaulted with stones, the police statement said.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid