Sibanye hit by underground protest at South Africa mine

Kroondal underground PGM mine. (Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater.)

Sibanye-Stillwater’s (JSE: SSW, NYSE: SBSW) Kroondal operations in South Africa are the stage of a protest by disgruntled workers who claim they have yet to receive payments under the company’s recently introduced employee share option schemes (ESOPs).

On Monday, more than 200 employees and contractors from the morning shift at Kwezi shaft (Kroondal West) staged an illegal sit-in and have remained underground since, the company said. The night shift at the K6 shaft was also disrupted, with approximately 250 people gathering in a central waiting place on surface.

To the company’s knowledge, the striking employees at Kroondal were aggrieved to not have received the annual ESOP payments made last Friday to Rustenburg and Marikana employees.

The miner noted that under the wage agreement signed in 2023, the Kroondal employees would only be included as beneficiaries of the ESOP following completion of the acquisition of the Kroondal pool and share agreement (PSA) by Sibanye’s Rustenburg unit, which is expected by the end of 2024.

“We fully respect employees’ rights to raise their grievances as set out in agreed policies and procedures. The current illegal and unprotected strike however is disappointing and we appeal to all stakeholders, including employees, to follow the established grievance procedures and to refrain from illegal acts,” Richard Stewart, Sibanye’s chief regional officer, Southern Africa said in a statement.

“At this time the safety of our employees and contractors, remains our top priority and we will undertake all necessary action to ensure their health and safety while underground,” he added.