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Gold One Suspends Workers as South African Strikes Continue

Gold One International Ltd. issued suspension notices to striking employees at a mine in South Africa, where thousands of workers have walked off the job, demanding pay increases of as much as four times inflation.

A “large number” of Ezulwini workers didn’t report for work on Oct. 1 even after the Labour Court issued an order against the illegal strike, the Johannesburg-based company said today. “We are therefore without any option but to suspend these striking employees,” it said.

Strikes have stalled mines owned by Africa’s three largest gold producers and the world’s largest platinum producer, and delaying deliveries of goods including motor fuels as truck drivers protest for more pay. August inflation was 5 percent. About 12 percent of global platinum production was halted after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. workers went on strike, according to Bloomberg calculations.

About 46 people died in protests last month at Lonmin’s Marikana mine. Workers ended a six-week illegal strike after securing pay increases ranging from 11 percent and 22 percent. Protesters blocked the entrance to Harmony Gold Mining Co.’s Kusasalethu mine with burning tires this week.

Security was tightened near Amplats’s Khuseleka mine after roads were barricaded with rocks and burning tires, and a hawker’s store was set alight during violent protests linked to the strike, the South African Press Association reported. Amplats declined to respond to a request for comment.

Trucks Burned

Trucks were torched and traffic was blocked yesterday when a protected strike by more than 20,000 drivers spread from Johannesburg to other provinces. Near George, in the south of the country, a truck was hijacked and set alight, SAPA reported, citing police.

The strike added pressure on fuel stations’ stock, MC Lamprecht, chairman of the 900-member South African Petroleum Retailers’ Association, said on Oct. 2. He didn’t immediately respond to two messages on his mobile phone today.

About 300 workers began a strike at Kumba Iron Ore Ltd., the Pretoria-based company said yesterday. Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg and Union mines are on strike. All of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s South African mines are down, as well as Gold Fields Ltd’s KDC West and Beatrix mines. Together the gold mines account for about 39 percent of the nation’s production of the precious metal.

Strikes in South Africa, producer of three-quarters of global platinum output, helped boost prices of the metal 18 percent since Aug. 1, Nomura Bank International Plc said in a note today. Platinum rose as much as 0.8 percent to $1,701.49 an ounce in London.

Divesting Report

Long-term investors are divesting from South Africa gold stocks because of the strikes, Johannesburg-based Business Day reported, citing Gold Fields Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland.

“The impact of the truck strike on the South African wholesale and retail industry is being felt,” the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Workers are making demands directly to management and through labor unions. The Chamber of Mines, representing large mining companies, and the National Union of Mineworkers met yesterday to discuss workers’ demands. They’ll meet again on Oct. 9, NUM said in a statement yesterday.

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