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Rio Tinto Workers Strike at Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, said workers at its Rossing uranium mine in Namibia started a strike today after rejecting a proposed settlement amid a bonus dispute.

Workers are striking at the mine main gate after rejecting an offer of a cash payment of 15,200 Namibian dollars ($1,830) as well as a fourth-quarter production incentive, the London-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.

“We showed our members the offer but they rejected the proposal as too little,” Ismael Kasuto, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia representative at Rossing, said by mobile phone today.

Rossing has about 1,600 workers, with the union seeking an additional 30,000 Namibian dollars on top of the 11,000 Namibian dollars they have each been paid in bonuses.

Rio Tinto “continues to explore all the possible avenues to ensure that this issue is resolved amicably to minimize the impact of protracted industrial action which benefits no one,” it said.

Rossing ships about 7 percent of global supply, according to World Nuclear Association data. The mine, 70 kilometers (40 miles) inland from the coastal town of Swakopmund, began production in 1976. Rio owns 69 percent of the operation and the government of Iran owns a 15 percent stake, according to its website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chamwe Kaira in Windhoek at ckaira@bloomberg.net; Jesse Riseborough in London at jriseborough@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alastair Reed at areed12@bloomberg.net

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