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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid