Gold Fields declares end to South Africa strikes

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 06, 2012 2:33 AM

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Gold Fields, the fourth largest bullion producer, said on Tuesday all three of its South African operations were back at work but a smaller operator said it had been hit by a strike, suggesting labor unrest in the gold mines is far from over.

Gold Fields said the reinstatement of 8,500 dismissed workers at its KDC East operations near Johannesburg had ended a 23-day strike and heralded a return to production.

All of South Africa's major gold producers have been hit by often violent illegal strikes at some or all of their operations in the last three months as labor discontent in the platinum mines spilled over into other sectors.

The major companies are now back at work, but junior miner Village Main Reef said employees at its Buffelsfontein Gold Mine had embarked on a wildcat strike as of the night shift on Monday.

In the platinum sector, Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest producer, is the only major company still struggling to bring an end to weeks of wildcat strikes by 12,000 workers at its Rustenburg mines and 20,500 at its Amandelbult and Union operations.

The company is losing an average of 3,694 ounces of platinum per day.

(Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas; Editing by Ed Cropley)