Sibanye Gold Drops to Three-Month Low After Violence at Mine

  • Two employees in critical condition after being assaulted
  • Operations at Cooke mine suspended while employees unsafe

Sibanye Gold Ltd., the biggest miner of South African gold, fell to the lowest in more than three months as it suspended operations at its Cooke mine, west of Johannesburg, after employees were assaulted.

Sibanye dropped as much as 7.8 percent to the lowest since June 23 and was down 3.1 percent by 1:30 p.m. in Johannesburg. Four workers were assaulted and two are in a critical condition following violence related to illegal industrial action after a union-membership verification process, Sibanye said in a statement Tuesday.

The company shut Cooke, which produces 10 percent to 15 percent of its gold, late Monday to investigate the incident and ensure workers’ safety, Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted said by phone.

The National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union are competing for support across South Africa’s gold industry. The AMCU rose to prominence in the country’s platinum mines, displacing the NUM, following the Marikana massacre, when 34 people protesting over wages were killed in a single day by police in 2012.

“It is regrettable that AMCU has taken this course of action when all employees were fully appraised of the verification process,” Chief Executive Officer Neal Froneman said in the statement. “We call on the unions to ensure that their members show restraint.”

AMCU spokesman Manzini Zungu didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Members of the NUM were attacked at their accommodations last night and before work this morning, Mpho Phakedi, a regional secretary for the union, said in a statement.

The FTSE/JSE Africa Gold Mining Index declined 1.3 percent in Johannesburg, after nearing a three-month low set Sept. 2. Gold for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,309.03 an ounce in London, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

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