Exxaro Stoppage at One of 6 Mines Halted by Strikes Ends

A strike at one of Exxaro Resources Ltd.’s six coal operations halted by work stoppages has ended, South Africa’s second-biggest coal producer said.

“Last night a small number of workers at Tshikondeni mine started strike action,” the Pretoria-based company said in an e-mailed statement. “From this morning there is no one on strike at Tshikondeni and production continues there as normal.” The stoppage at Matla, Arnot, Grootegeluk, Leeuwpan and Inyanda was ongoing, it said.

Output at the coal operation in the northernmost province of Limpopo, stopped yesterday and today, National Union of Mineworkers branch secretary Mxolisi Hoboyi said by phone . The mine supplies hard coking coal to ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd.’s Vanderbijlpark plant, the continent’s biggest steelmaking facility.

Exxaro, which has 11 production sites, supplies all the power-station coal it mines to electricity utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the Pretoria-based company said on its website. The strikes at Arnot and Matla, which started on March 5, related to the non-payment of bonuses, Exxaro said in a statement yesterday. Eskom relies on coal for 80 percent of power generation.

The Arnot operation supplies the fuel to an Eskom power station with installed capacity of 2,100 megawatts. Protesters were preventing trucks loaded with coal at Arnot, near Middelburg in the Mpumalanga province, from delivering the fuel to the electricity plant and were burning tires, Hoboyi said.

Solidarity, another trade union with workers at Exxaro, has no mandate from its members to join in the strikes, Louis Pretorius, the national organizer for mining at the union, said by e-mail today.

“We did however advise our members not to do any striking colleagues’ work, as we are cognizant of the reasons for the strikes,” he said. “What is disconcerting is that the coal supply to Eskom power stations might be interrupted if the strikes continue.”

Exxaro fell 2.4 percent to 165.81 rand, the most since Dec. 7, by the close in Johannesburg. About 1.77 million shares, or 94 percent more than the daily average over the past three months, changed hands.

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