Sibanye Gold resumes operations at Cooke mine after attack

Cooke operations (Photo: Sibanye Gold).

Tuesday was not an easy day at Sibanye Gold’s Cooke mine in the South African province of Gauten.

Operations are now back on track, but they had to be suspended for some 24 hours after four employees were attacked by unknown assailants. The skirmish was the product of what the company calls an illegal strike that started on Monday, following a dispute about union membership verification. Two of the people injured are members of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Following an agreement with union representatives, the industrial action was called-off.

For the past couple of weeks, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has been facilitating the membership verification process at Cooke. The goal is to reach a deal that helps calm the waters, given the turf war taking place since 2012 between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.

According to Reuters, the battle started when AMCU dislodged NUM as the dominant union in South Africa’s platinum belt.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, reports that Sibanye Gold’s Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said that these kind of tensions are the product of injustices dragged on from South Africa’s apartheid-era. Speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday night before the start of the annual mining conference Joburg Indaba, Froneman stated that the past “continues to taint our present.”

Following the violent incident, Sibanye’s share price was down 2.7% at 46.52 rand by 1130 GMT Tuesday.

The group is South Africa’s largest gold producer. The Cooke mine has delivered about 13.5% of the company’s total output for the first half of 2016.

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