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Kumba’s Striking Workers Are Arrested in Raid at Sishen Mine

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- South African police arrested more than 40 striking miners at Kumba Iron Ore Ltd.’s Sishen operation today as the Anglo American Plc unit sought to bring a two-week walkout to a close.

Security officers joined police to raid the site, Hendrik Swart, a police spokesman in the Northern Cape province, said by telephone. They recovered 3.3 billion rand ($376 million) of mining equipment that had been seized by the miners, he said.

About 300 workers at Sishen downed tools on Oct. 3 to demand higher pay as strikes spread from South Africa’s platinum industry to gold, chrome and iron-ore operations. Pretoria-based Kumba, which is losing 120,000 metric tons of production a day, brought criminal charges against the workers that included accusations of extortion and theft.

The raid began at 3 a.m. local time and is still taking place, Swart said near Kathu. “We will determine exactly how many people were arrested once the operation is completed,” he said.

Kumba dismissed striking workers who ignored an ultimatum to report for disciplinary hearings, the company said earlier today in a statement. Fewer than 200 workers out of 12,700 at Sishen were dismissed, Kumba spokesman Gert Schoeman said by phone from Pretoria, adding that they have four days to appeal.

The mine, which produces 40 million tons of iron ore a year, will be fully operational in a week’s time, Schoeman said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaco Visser in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at

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