Johannesburg - Impala Platinum Holdings [JSE:IMP], the
world's second-largest platinum producer, said it is losing production of 3 000
ounces a day as most workers are not reporting for duty at its Rustenburg mine
on Tuesday because of labour unrest.
The mine, shut for six weeks earlier this year because of a
power struggle war between unions, has been hit again by fresh clashes between
the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the Association of
Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).
"We have called on our employees to return to work and
allow the law to take its course and for the violence to cease. Production will
be impacted by 3 000 platinum ounces a day," Implats said in a statement.
Implats' Rustenburg operation accounts for about 15% of
global output and the spot platinum price was around 0.5% higher in early trade
on Tuesday at around $1 468.00/oz.
Police spokesperson Adele Myburgh said roads around an
informal settlement near the mine had been blocked by rocks, and workers were
being prevented from showing up for shifts. The community has been the scene of
violent clashes in the past.
She said the protests flared when police arrested two
suspects on Monday afternoon for shooting and wounding another miner last week
in a Num/AMCU scuffle.
"The suspects are allegedly part of AMCU and the worker
shot belongs to Num. So the AMCU members have gone on strike demanding the
release of the two suspects," Myburgh said.
Implats said it had not received any demands from the
workers in relation to the work stoppage "which in our view is as a result
of continued union rivalry between the Num and AMCU".
The often violent six-week stoppage earlier this year cost
Implats 120 000 oz in lost output and pushed the spot price of platinum higher.
South Africa accounts for most global production and supply
and the country's platinum sector has also been hit by a government safety
drive that has seen a surge in inspections and operational stoppages for