Sibanye’s platinum mine workers begin indefinite strike

Unionized workers at Sibanye Gold's (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) Kroondal platinum mine in South Africa began Friday an indefinite strike over transport, bonuses and safety pay.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the country’s platinum industry largest union, wants the company to provide miners with transportation and increased safety, as many members have been attacked after working night shifts, Reuters reports.

Sibanye acquired Kroondal through its purchase of Aquarius Platinum in October last year.

Sibanye, South Africa’s largest gold producer, acquired Kroondal through its purchase of Aquarius Platinum in October last year for about $294 million. The deal was finalized in April.

A company’s spokesman said Sibanye would seek a court order to stop the strike because it was negatively affecting output.

"With metal prices being low for AMCU to now go on strike over issues that are being dealt with is irresponsible. This poses a threat of to the viability of the mine," James Wellsted told Reuters.

Kroondal is just one of several mines Sibanye Gold has bought lately as it seeks to expand from gold and platinum to other commodities, including coal, uranium and base metals.

The strike comes as the AMCU is in the process of preparing wage demands for the country's top platinum miners before a two-year agreement ends next month.

The last deal was signed after a five-month strike, the longest in the mining history of South Africa, the world’s largest producer of the metal.

Sibanye’s platinum mine workers begin indefinite strike

Kroondal platinum mine plant. (Image from archives)