Implats losing R60m a day due to strike – CEO

2014-02-27 09:57

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Impala Platinum Holdings’ (Implats’) operations in Rustenburg, North West, is losing production of 2 800 ounces of platinum (R60 million in revenue) per day due to the strike by mine workers’ union Amcu, which is in its fifth week, CEO Terence Goodlace has said.

“It’s not easy for us ... Impala simply cannot afford Amcu’s demand of R12 500,” he said as the company released its interim results for December 2013.

“There is no winner during a strike of this nature.”

Talks between Amcu and employers will continue at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) on Friday.

Implats has not taken any court action against Amcu, unlike Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats).

The platinum sector has been severely battered by the strike of mine workers affiliated to Amcu.

The union’s members at Lonmin, Amplats, and Implats downed tools last month demanding a R12 500 basic salary.

The CCMA has been brokering talks between the union and the companies since January 24.

Implats, the world’s second biggest platinum producer, said its Rustenburg operations had been shut down completely during the strike for the safety of non-striking workers.

All compressed air was turned off, few fans remained switched on, and the company was paying for “very little electricity“.

“Only the furnaces are going on a little holding power,” said Goodlace.

However, there were concerns that utilities left unattended during the strike could be hit by widespread copper theft, which would affect ventilation flows.

Goodlace said he feared for the industry if the strike continued.

“The consequences would be absolutely dire.”

Implats marketing executive Derek Engelbrecht said a pipeline installed before the strike would guarantee that all contractual deliveries were met until the end of March, and all local deliveries would be met until the end of April.

The Rustenburg operation had done “pretty good” half year and the company’s Zimplats, Marula, and Two Rivers operations were doing well.

Metal from overproducing Zimplats was coming through to help.

“There’s no shortage of metal because of the pipeline... Clearly the strike will have an impact but we’ve not felt it yet... It will come in May, June, or July,” said Engelbrecht.

“We would have to assess what to do from May onwards [if the strike persists].”

Implats noted that it had not taken any court action against Amcu, unlike Amplats which is suing the union for almost R600m in damages caused by the strike.

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