South African strikes spread, hit Gold Fields

Mining workers dissatisfaction in South Africa has now hit the country's second-largest gold producer, Gold Fields Ld. (JSE, NYSE, NASDAQ Dubai: GFI), as about 12,000 employees downed tools at the KDC mine, on Johannesburg's West Rand.

Gold Fields said it has been granted an urgent interdict to end the illegal strike, allegedly over disagreements involving the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and related structures on the mine.

“The safety of our people is our first priority and we appeal to all stakeholders to continue to act with restraint and to find peaceful solutions to their differences,” said in a statement Peter Turner, head of Gold Fields’ South African operations. “It is important that we restore normality on the mine in a peaceful manner and as soon as possible.”

Shares of Gold Fields fell nearly 6% percent, at 98 rand, their lowest level since July 20, as a consequence of the strike announcement.

This further escalation of labour frictions comes as a significant portion of South Africa's platinum production remains shut down as a result of violent industrial action at Lonmin's (LON:JSE) Marikana mine, which some feared could spill over to gold producers.

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