Platmin mining operations still shut after labour disruptions, several arrests made

South Africa’s Pilanesberg Platinum mining operations remain halted more than a week after employees of a contractor disrupted operations through intimidation of supervisors, industrial action and damage to property and equipment. The company said in a statement released on Monday its concentrator has operated at full capacity throughout and produced a record amount of metal in June.

Platmin has lost a tenth of its value on the Toronto bourse since halting operations and is down more than 40% over the last twelve months. The mid-tier producer has a market capitalization of some $510m.

On 24 June, Platmin Limited issued an announcement relating to disruptions at the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine caused by a small group of employees of mining contractor, MCC Contracts (Proprietary) Limited (MCC).

Platmin’s priorities since the disruptions have been to ensure the safety of employees and the security of assets and equipment; to minimise the impact on production by processing stockpile material and conducting maintenance; and the rapid resumption of mining operations.

The damage to MCC-owned and leased operational and personally-allocated vehicles is being assessed. Drilling and blasting equipment, which is fundamental to the mining activity, was not affected.

Platmin is assisting MCC, who are engaged with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in terms of MCC’s recognition agreement, and the parties are working closely with the South African Police Services in identifying and prosecuting those individuals involved in the disruptions. Several arrests have been made.

While mining activities have been affected by these events, Platmin’s concentrator has operated at full capacity throughout the period by processing stockpiled, oxidised reef and in fact despatched record metal in concentrate during June. Scheduled preventative maintenance will be bought forward to align with future production planning.

The process of consultation with the NUM on the safe and orderly resumption of operations has been constructive and a further meeting has been scheduled for today, Monday, 4 July. MCC’s engineering personnel could resume work immediately thereafter to repair or replace the affected vehicles.

Drilling and blasting crews and the load and haul crews not involved in the disruptions can start work as soon as agreement has been reached between the parties. Inevitably though, mining operations will be disrupted for a period, and the build-up of ore stockpiles accordingly delayed. A further announcement will be made when the impact has been more accurately established.

For the full press release click here. Image of mining operations courtesy of the company.

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