Home » Over 2,000 Mineworkers End Sit-in at South Africa’s Impala Platinum Mine

Over 2,000 Mineworkers End Sit-in at South Africa’s Impala Platinum Mine

Underground Strike at Bafokeng Rasimone Mine Concludes After Three Days

by Adenike Adeodun

The standoff at Impala Platinum’s Bafokeng Rasimone mine in South Africa has come to a peaceful conclusion, with over 2,000 mineworkers resurfacing on Wednesday. This marks the end of a three-day underground sit-in that began earlier this week.

Initiated to address grievances related to pension funds and tax deductions on bonuses, the protest started on Monday when 2,205 workers downed tools following the mine’s recent ownership change. The action was sparked by union officials’ demands for immediate pension payments and concerns about tax practices.

According to a report by Mining.com, Impala Platinum, which acquired Royal Bafokeng Platinum in July, confirmed the end of the protest in a statement. “We are pleased to report that all employees engaged in the illegal and unprotected protest have safely exited the underground workings,” the company announced.

While the National Union of Mineworkers, which represents the majority of the mine’s workers, has not yet made a statement, the incident is part of a broader pattern of industrial unrest in South Africa’s mining sector. Recent months have seen similar protests at Wesizwe Platinum’s Bakubung operations and Gold One Group’s Modder East mine, mainly over wages and union representation.

The series of underground sit-ins in South African mines has raised concerns within the industry. Impala has highlighted the risks these actions pose to sustainable employment, especially given the current challenges faced by Platinum Group Metals producers due to low metal prices.

This situation comes as the platinum mining industry, including major players like Impala and Sibanye Stillwater, contends with job cuts and economic pressures. The struggle to balance profitability with the welfare of workers continues to be a significant challenge in the face of fluctuating metal prices.

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