Implats workers extend walk-out

2012-05-23 09:39

Johannesburg - Workers at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg operation, which is losing 3,000 ounces a day in output, extended their walk-out for a second day on Wednesday amid violence between rival unions at the world’s biggest platinum mine, police said.

“The workers are not going back to work and there are still incidents of intimidation,” police spokesperson Thulani Ngubane told Reuters. Implats officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The latest flare-up buries hopes of quickly settling a labour turf war that shut the mine for six weeks earlier this year, costing Implats 120,000 ounces in lost production.

But markets took the unrest in stride. Spot platinum was one percent lower in morning trade, extending recent losses, with the focus on the gloomy demand outlook.

Rustenburg, Implats’ flagship South African mine, has been hit by clashes between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

The latest round was sparked when police say suspected AMCU supporters allegedly shot and wounded a NUM member last week. Their arrest on Monday prompted protests, which saw most of the mine’s workforce failing to report for duty on Tuesday.

Implats officials could not immediately be reached for comment.