Mining industry accused of blackmail

2012-06-26 15:31

Johannesburg - The closure of Aquarius Platinum's Everest mine in Mpumalanga was a bid to blackmail the ANC on the eve of its policy conference, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) said on Tuesday.

"The Num perceives all these panic buttons pressed by the industry as nothing else but an attempt to blackmail the ruling party," Num spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

"The Num advises the ANC, the state and the alliance partners to reject the blackmail and move forward in getting sustainable solutions."

The union claimed the mining industry was using blackmail to maintain the current tax, beneficiation, and industry structure.

"They do not want any transformation in the mining sector. They want it to remain as it is."

Operations at the Everest mine near Lydenburg were suspended on Thursday because of low commodity prices and labour issues, the company said in a statement.

It said the "ramp-up" at Everest had been hampered by poor ground conditions and ongoing disruptive industrial relations.

"These issues, coupled with the present low PGM (platinum group metals) price environment, have rendered the mine uneconomic(al)."

The mine was closed on Thursday.

  • markjack.deppe - 2012-06-26 16:14

    I read three reasons why the mine closed. Cannot see blackmail however. Now here's a case in point. Since a consideration of nationalisation of mines are a talking point, why can the ANC not run this mine and let the people benefit. Surely NUM would not then have to proceed with their persistent industrial actions which forces entities of this capacity to close down.

      thandiwe.ngema.71 - 2012-06-27 03:20

      Zuma's "2nd transition" is just a ploy to capture some of the extremist votes the ANCYL hang onto. The government know that they cannot nationalize anything as this would send investors running and thus mines would stop working. It would destroy GDP and tax revenue and create masses of unemployment... Similarly the government cannot expropriate land without compensation as productive farms would no longer be operating (you need more than just land to farm - you need technology, business experience, farming experience etc), food prices would rocket (as SA would import more), unemployment would shoot up, and tax income would drop. South Africa CANNOT afford the number of tax-payers to fall as the government would be unable to provide housing for millions, unable to give out grants, unable to fund health and education, unable to fund infrastructure etc The implementation of aggressive policies like nationalization and land grabs will lead to an increase in unemployment, a decrease in productivity, and increase in poverty, an increase in food prices, poorer infrastructure, an increase in government debt (look at the effects of this in Greece) etc. The government does not have a big enough budget to buy the mines outright. If it took the mines illegally, countless international treaties with ALL our trading partners would be broken and we would lose most of our trading capability. Health & education must be a priority for any significant reduction of poverty longterm.

  • markjack.deppe - 2012-06-26 17:38

    Just a thought. There are various mines scattered across our country which have in recent years been closed due to some or other reason. We see how members of the community visit those mines due to unemployment and risk their lives doing their own illegal digging. Why can the ANC not revitalise those mines and in this way create employment?? The fact that people are delving there is an obvious indication that materials are still embedded with a monetary value.

  • nicolaas.baker - 2012-06-26 19:47

    @Markjack, I agree, why does NUM not invest their membership fees into this mine and hand it over to the workers so that they can demonstrate their commitment to poverty elivation!

  • appietrader - 2012-06-26 21:29

    More fun and easier to make the mining bosses life hell because most of them happen to be white. These people haven't the capacity or will ever acquire the skills and working ethic to run a mine efficiently and profitable. It is hard work and dedication to run a business to the benefit of the employees, taxman and shareholders. There are possible opportunities in the mining sector that require skills and lots of capital that is not available in the county. Why don't they explore this, the problem is they haven't the capacity to CREATE wealth. Can only steal it!!

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-06-27 11:43

    Anything to pass the buck blaming the mining industry and calling them blackmailers. Obviously the people at NUM have no idea about ecconomics. In simple terms it does not make sense to carry on the operations if the cost exceeds the output. Let the ANC take over the mine and see if they can make it work without using taxpayer money and give in to the labour demands. This is not likely to happen as it would show them up for their foolish remarks.

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