Amplats sacks 12,000 miners at Rustenberg project

Anglo American's platinum operation, Amplats, in which it owns an 80 per cent interest, has announced that it has sacked around 12,000 striking employees from its Rustenberg project in South Africa.

Anglo American's platinum operation, Amplats, in which it owns an 80 per cent interest, has announced that it has sacked around 12,000 striking employees from its Rustenberg project in South Africa.

Amplats, the world's biggest producer of platinum group metals (PGMs) which accounts for around 40% of global supply, said in a statement on Friday afternoon: "Despite the company's repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%. Currently four of the company's mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines."

It has been around three weeks since the initial safety suspension and subsequent start of the illegal industrial action.

The group said that disciplinary hearings for striking miners have been completed and affected employees will be informed of the outcome of the hearings today. They have three working days to appeal.

"Approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence."

Furthermore, the company revealed that it has begun to experience strike contragion at its Union and Amandelbult (Tumela and Dishaba) operations, where workers have presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg. These mines are now not operating due to "insufficient attendance".

As a result of the strikes and initial safety suspension, the company has lost platinum production of 39,000 ounces, which will result in around 700m South African rand (nearly £50m) of lost revenue.

"The company is committed to participating in the Platinum centralised engagement structures driven by the Chamber of Mines, as well as exploring the possibility of bringing forward wage negotiations within our current agreements," said Amplats' Chief Executive Officer Chris Griffith.

"Anglo American Platinum continues to work with the local authorities and other stakeholders to support the restoration of law and order to the affected areas."

Shares of London-listed Anglo American were flat at 1,814p before the close of trade, underperforming the wider mining sector which had gained around 0.9%.

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