Sibanye shuts gold mines in South Africa as strike turns violent

Kloof, in its current form, dates from April 2000 when the Venterspost (1939), Libanon (1945), Kloof (1968) and Leeudoorn (1993) mines were amalgamated.(Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater.)

South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) has halted all its gold mining operations in the country after violence broke out overnight during a strike by workers demanding higher wages.

Operations at the Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix mines, major sources of revenue for the precious metals miner, were suspended late on Wednesday due to increasing levels of brutality and intimidation, it said in the statement.

Operations at Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix mines are suspended since late Wednesday.

One employee was killed and a number of employees were seriously injured during the course of the night.

Sibanye-Stillwater condemned the violence and urged unions and employees to strike peacefully and respect the rights of others.

South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) received permission to strike at the company’s operations in September after talks deadlocked.

Last week, Sibanye-Stillwater signed three-year wage agreements with a trio of other South African unions, ending months of negotiations that started in July, but failed to ink a deal with AMCU.

The company, which also mines platinum group metals, has done poorly this year in terms of safety, which has triggered a series of lawsuits. One of them, a class action suit on behalf of its shareholders, seeks compensation for losses suffered after a series of deaths at its mines caused a sharp drop of the stock price.

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