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(Kitco News) - With the labor strife in South Africa continuing to spread, Kitco News looks at which companies have been recently affected and what effects the wildcat strikes are having on their respective mines.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (JSE: AMS)

Media reports Friday said Anglo American Platinum had fired 12,000 striking workers in South Africa. Amplats’ Rustenburg operations had been heavily affected by the wildcat strikes as the company said it has lost 39,000 ounces of platinum production totaling over $82 million. Striking employees are also claiming that a police officer shot and killed a protester with a rubber bullet to the stomach. On Tuesday, the company advised employees at its Rustenburg mining operations not to attend work due security concerns linked with the strikes. Amplats has been signaling throughout the week that there would be repercussions to the strikes if they did not come to an end. Anglo American is the world’s largest platinum producer and accounts for roughly 40% of the world’s new platinum production. In 2011, the company produced 2.53 million ounces of platinum.

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE:AU)(JSE: ANG)

AngloGold released a statement Monday saying that the strikes at its six operations in South Africa continue to be affected by the strikes. The company obtained an interdict to declare the strike unprotected. AngloGold stands by the current wage agreement and said “in a country where roughly one in four people do not have work, it is incomprehensible that strikers are engaged in activities that threaten jobs in a cornerstone industry that is central to South Africa’s growth aspirations, and where wage rates are highly competitive compared to other labor intensive sectors in the country.” AngloGold met with the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines Thursday to discuss the framework of negotiations and how to bring an end to the labor strife. AngloGold is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has seven projects in the country. Last year the company produced 4.33 million ounces of gold from its 20 operations located across the Americas, Africa and Australia.

Gold Fields Ltd. (NYSE, JSE: GFI)

Although the strikes have affected Gold Fields’ KDC West and Beatrix projects, the company continues to do business, reaching an agreement with the NUM regarding the operating model at its South Deep gold mine near Johannesburg. Gold Fields has not addressed the strikes this week despite strikes continuing at both mines. Spokespersons for the company have said the strikes have not been violent. The company said that KDC produced 1.1 million ounces of gold in 2011, while Beatrix produced roughly 380,500 ounces of gold in 2011. Gold Fields is one of the largest unhedged gold producers with 3.5 million gold-equivalent ounces produced from eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa.

Gold One International Ltd. (JSE: GDO)   

Gold One has had a busy week, culminating Wednesday with the announced suspension of all striking workers at its Ezulwini operation. In a release, the company said it had “obtained an interim interdict from the Labor Court of South Africa on Oct. 2, in terms of which the industrial action that began on Oct. 1 was declared unprotected and unlawful.” The company has given the suspended workers an opportunity to represent themselves and their reason for striking on Friday. Ezulwini produced nearly 60,000 ounces of gold and over 31,000 pounds of uranium in 2011. Gold One is a producing and development company headquartered in South Africa. 

Harmony Gold (NYSE: HMY)

Harmony Gold was affected this week by the growing strike as workers at the company’s Kusasalethu mine joined the strikes. "We urge our employees to honor existing collective agreements entered into through the Chamber of Mines as well as existing bargaining structures," said chief executive officer Graham Briggs in a statement on Wednesday. "I encourage all employees who have embarked on this unlawful strike to act in a safe, responsible and peaceful manner, and to engage through the established lawful channels,” he added. Harmony Gold is South Africa’s third-largest gold producer. Its Kusasalethu mine produced over 180,000 ounces of gold in 2011.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (JSE: IPA)

The world’s second-largest platinum producer signed a deal Sept. 27, agreeing to a 4.8% market adjustment for its employees. There have been no issues that the company has reported since the deal was signed. Implats produced 1.84 million ounces of platinum and 3.77 million ounces of platinum group metals in 2011 from its Bushveld Complex in South Africa and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe.

Kumba Iron Ore (JSE: KIO)

Kumba Iron Ore saw nearly 300 of its 12,700 employees join the wildcat strikes on Wednesday and was forced to shut down its Sishen mine Thursday due to the striking workers blocking access to the mine. The company said dialogue is open with the striking employees and their request for a R15,000 wage increase. The Sishen mine produce 9.8 million metric tons of ore in 2011. Kumba Iron Ore is the largest iron ore mining company in Africa.

Lonmin Plc (LSE: LMI)

It all began with Lonmin’s Marikana mine and a strike that was by far the most violent and deadly of all. Lonmin settled Sept. 18 with striking miners, increasing miner’s wages between 11% and 22% as well as a bonus of R2,000 which seems to have diffused the situation at Marikana. The company has not addressed the strikes since the deal was signed and reported on Sept. 20 that over 80% of employees had reported to work at the mine. Lonmin is among the top platinum group metals producers in the world.

Petmin Mining Ltd. (JSE: PET)

Petmin saw 345 of its workers lay down their tools Sept. 28 at its Somkhele mine. The protest turned deadly Wednesday when a security guard was hacked to death by assailants wielding bush knives. The 345 striking workers are employed by Sandton Plant Hire, the opencast contractor at Petmin’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd, the operator of Somkhele, the company said in a statement. The company has not issued any further press releases this week regarding the strike. Petmin’s Somkhele mine produced 524,006 metric tons of anthracite in 2011.

Village Main Reef (JSE: VIL)

Village Main Reef also saw 1,700 workers down their tools Sept. 28 at its Blyvoor mine. On Tuesday the company issued a statement saying that Village Main Reef obtained a court interdict against the striking miners. In the statement, the company said it has “sought to engage with employee representatives to avoid the inevitable dismissals should this process take its course.” South African-based Village Main Reef’s recently acquired Blyvoor mine from DRD Gold produced 7,619 ounces of gold in June 2012.

The unrest has also stretched to the automotive industry as Toyota reported it had to shut down its plant in Durban due to striking employees. Friday, oil giant Shell declared force majeure on some fuel deliveries in South Africa due to the truck drivers strike.
Recent figures point to 75,000 miners taking part in the wildcat strikes.

The information was gathered from various media and company reports.

By Alex Létourneau of Kitco News aletourneau@kitco.com

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