Unrest returns to South African gold mine

Labour unrest spread in South Africa on Monday when 15,000 workers stopped operations at a Gold Fields (JSE, NYSE, NASDAQ Dubai: GFI) mine while a few workers reported for duty during the fourth week of a strike at Lonmin (LON:JSE), the world’s third largest platinum mine.

In a press release Gold Fields, the world’s fourth-largest gold producer, said its strike started Sunday night and that senior managers were at the scene Monday to learn the demands of miners at the west section of the KDC mine.  The east section of the mine, on strike last week, was operating normally today the company said.

It is believed the workers are asking for the removal of their local union leadership and demanding tax-free bonuses, AAP reported.

This new action has fuelled fears that conflict will spread to the entire mining sector, ceasing Africa's economic powerhouse for months.

The company added it has applied for an urgent interdict to bring the “unlawful and unprotected strike” at KDC Wets to an end.

Mining in South Africa accounts for 6% of the nations’ gross domestic product, but the sector is becoming a symbol of the economic, social and political differences that continue to characterize the country.

(Image: Gold Fields strike, by AlJazeera via YouTube)

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