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(Kitco News) - With the ongoing labor strife in South Africa, Kitco News looks at the latest developments involving the mining companies affected.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (JSE: AMS)

Amplats said they are holding off on more dismissals but they maintain that the 12,000 employees that were fired Oct. 5 will not be brought back. The company said that attendance remains below 20%, rendering their Rustenburg operations unsafe to operate. "We are faced with extremely complex challenges that require innovative solutions that will address the very real economic issues affecting the entire platinum industry,” said Chris Griffith, Amplats chief executive officer. “We believe that it is only right for us to engage with our recognized unions and work together to find the best way forward." Media reports Oct. 12 said Amplats lost over $126 million in revenue due to the ongoing labor disputes in South Africa, figures that continue to rise daily. On Oct. 10 police stopped hundreds of striking workers from storming the National Union of Mineworkers’ Rustenburg offices. There were no reports of death or injuries. 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)

Despite a proposal from AngloGold on Oct. 11, where the company said they would improve miner’s salaries in order to get its six operations in South Africa back on track, their striking miners are not responded. The Chamber of Mines is conducting meetings between the two parties but there have been no significant updates as to when the strikes will end. Standard & Poor’s have said that they may cut AngloGold’s ratings to junk. The company has seen roughly 30,000 ounces of gold lost weekly as all of their South African operations have been shut down due to the strikes. AngloGold is headquartered in Johannesburg 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.

Atlatsa Resources Corp. (TSXV, NYSE MKT, JSE: ATL)

Atlatsa followed through on their threat to dismiss employees who did not return to work Monday, firing 1,518 workers from its Bokoni mine on Tuesday. In a statement, the company said: "all employees who failed to return to work yesterday are dismissed with effect from Oct. 6." The workers that did return to work were subjected to intimidation tactics and threats from the employees who had lost their job. Atlatsa operates and controls the Bokoni Platinum Mines located near the Bushveld Complex.

Gold Fields Ltd. (NYSE, JSE: GFI)

Gold Fields saw most of its KDC West and all of its Beatrix workers return to work this week. The only workers left striking are at Gold Fields’ KDC East, to whom the company issued an ultimatum to Friday, stating the workers are required to return to work Monday, or face dismissal. Despite the labor improvements, S&P also said they may cut Gold Fields’ rating. The company lowered its third quarter gold production Oct. 12 due to the strikes. Gold Fields said its third quarter gold-equivalent ounces are expected to be 810,000 ounces. That’s a drop compared to 862,000 ounces in the second quarter of 2012 and 900,000 ounces in the corresponding quarter one year ago, the company said. 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)   

After firing 1,417 of its 1,900 workforce at its Ezulwini operation on Oct. 9, the company said Wednesday that they would be suspending its Ezulwini operation for a month. In a statement, the company said: “Ezulwini is a marginal operation and the recent unprotected industrial action has placed it under considerable economic pressure." 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 has been out of the news for the most part regarding the strikes at its Kusasalethu mine. There have been no updates from the company and they were mentioned briefly in news reports throughout the week, but nothing more than workers are still off the job. The company is currently engaged in negotiations with the Chamber of Mines, along with AngloGold and Gold Fields. 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)

Impala Platinum seems to be in the clear since it 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’s 300 striking workers returned to work at the Sishen mine with production expected to start Friday. This comes after police arrested more than 40 striking Kumba miners Tuesday. The company said it has been losing 120,000 metric tons of production a day. The Sishen mine produced 9.8 million metric tons of ore in 2011. Kumba Iron Ore is the largest iron ore mining company in Africa and fourth largest in the world.

Lonmin Plc (LSE: LMI)

One of the more confusing updates of the week saw roughly 4,000 Lonmin employees at its Marikana mine not report to work Thursday. The company had no idea why workers decided to not report for duty but Friday saw the 4,000 walkouts return to their posts. This was the first incident of work stoppage since settling Sept. 18 with striking miners, increasing miner’s wages between 11% and 22% as well as a bonus of R2,000. Lonmin is among the top platinum group metals producers in the world.

Petmin Mining Ltd. (JSE: PET)

Petmin’s worker-strike at its Somkhele anthracite mine ended on Oct. 8 and everything looks to be back to normal for the company. About 350 workers began striking Sept. 25. Petmin’s Somkhele mine produced 524,006 metric tons of anthracite in 2011.

Petra Diamonds Ltd. (LSE: PDL)

New to the list, Petra Diamonds saw 200 workers go on strike Tuesday at its Cullinan mine. Reuters reported that the company’s production was temporarily affected. Petra said it will not update the situation due to company policy and will be working with the NUM to resolve the issue. Petra has several mines operating in South Africa; however, Cullinan is the only one affected by the strikes to date.

Village Main Reef (JSE: VIL)

Village Main Reef reached an agreement with striking workers at its Blyvoor mine and saw 772 out of 941 workers return to work Wednesday. Those who did not report to work had until Thursday to appeal their dismissals, the company said. South African-based Village Main Reef’s recently acquired Blyvoor mine from DRD Gold produced 7,619 ounces of gold in June 2012.

Updated figures show 35,000 miners are still on strike.  

The information was gathered from various media and company reports.

By Alex Létourneau of Kitco News aletourneau@kitco.com

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