Kumba Iron declares force majeure in South Africa

On Monday Kumba Iron Ore (PINK: KIROY, JNB:KIO)  declared force majeure on deliveries from its Sishen mine in South Africa.

The $18 billion miner listed in Johannesburg said in a statement that that it only has sufficient production from its other mines and stockpiles of finished product to continue supplying its customers until mid-October.

Around 300 employees at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine in the north west of the country on Wednesday began disrupting operations at the massive Sishen mine which produced over 40 million tonnes last year.

Kumba Iron Ore is losing 120,000 tons of output per day and said its loading operations at Sishen have also been affected by the illegal strike and therefore not all load-out stations are operating at full capacity.

Kumba was generally regarded as immune to the strikes sweeping the mining sector of the African nation because rank and file employees with at least five years at the company in December were given a lump sum of about R345,000 [$41,000] each after taxes as part of a worker share participation scheme.

The strikers are demanding a monthly salary increase of R15,000 (US$1,700) for all Kumba employees over and above what they are already earning.

As many as 75,000 miners, or 15% of the sector’s workers in South Africa, and more than 20,000 transport workers are now on illegal strikes which have been often been accompanied by violent protests.

Labour unrest has now spread into South Africa’s government sector – the Municipal Workers’ Union representing 190,000 workers said on Monday it would launch a strike over pay in the next few days.

The currency, the Rand, fell to a three-year low on Monday at R8.88 to the US dollar.

Image is a file video capture of striking workers at Gold Fields in SA.

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