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Most South African gold miners return to work

Much shorter than expected resulted the touted strike staged by around 80,000 South African gold miners who downed tools on Tuesday demanding considerably higher wages than what the companies were willing to offer.

According to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman, workers for four of the seven companies affected by the labour action had accepted a new pay offer, believed to be about 8%, Bloomberg reports.

The union had been demanding 60%, while gold companies had offered 6.5% — slightly higher than the current 6% annual inflation rate.

Separately, Sibanye Gold (NYSE:SBGL) said Friday workers at its Kloof mine near Johannesburg had ended a strike as of last night and that it hoped workforce at its Beatrix mine in the Free State province would start returning today.

Although partially over, the strike that has already cost the country as much as $34 million in lost revenue a day, seems to be close to an end.

Now it’s the turn for NUM’s rival, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to have its say. AMCU represents 20% of the industry’s 107,000 workers, is meeting tomorrow to discuss how to respond to the gold mining companies newest offer.