Xstrata fires 400 South African miners

Global miner Xstrata Plc. (LON:XTA) confirmed Friday it has dismissed 400 workers who have been on an illegal strike at its South African mines.

Christopher Tsatsawane, spokesman for the Swiss mining giant, told AFP they had warned the strikers and the deadline had passed for them to return to their posts.

The workers, who downed tools on October 25 over an internal disciplinary system they were unsatisfied with, have 24 hours to appeal Xstrata’s measure.

So far over 30,000 miners have been fired in different South African operations, causing the country’s economy serious damage.

Globally, South Africa is the fourth largest producer of iron ore and holds the same rank for annual gold production.  South Africa is also number one in platinum output and holds fifth spot for steam coal production.

Recent figures show a severe broadening of South Africa’s trade deficit, reaching $1.6 billion. It was the largest in more than three years and wildcat strikes that caused a drop in exports of metals and other mining products are to blame.

Image: Rustenburg plant in South Africa, courtesy of Xstrata.

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