Xstrata Alloys: Mine Restored To Normal
09/18/2012| 07:45am US/Eastern
LONDON--Xstrata Alloys, a division of Anglo Swiss miner Xstrata PLC (>> Xstrata PLC) said Tuesday that production at its Kroondal chrome mine has returned to normal after it sent workers home Friday due to protests at neighboring mines owned by Lonmin PLC (>> Lonmin Plc) and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AGPPY, AMS.JO).
Xstrata Alloys spokesman Christopher Tsatsawane told Dow Jones Newswires that workers were evacuated on Friday for safety reasons after having been intimidated by Lonmin employees demanding higher wages at the neighboring Marikana mine.
About 10% of the workforce returned to work over the weekend and 90% were present on Monday, enough to resume production at the mine, Mr. Tsatsawane said. He said the company isn't "100% comfortable [with the situation in the Rustenburg region].. because workers at the Marikana mine are still negotiating wages."
But he expressed confidence in efforts to reach a peaceful solution.
Lonmin PLC (>> Lonmin Plc) said Tuesday it's willing to raise its wage offer to miners tabled last week and that workers have said they are prepared to accept a lower offer, as talks to end a five-week strike at its Marikana mine resume later in the day. The unrest has been marked by violent clashes that have killed 45 people, including 34 miners shot by police.
Since the strike at Lonmin, workers have stopped operations at South Africa's second-largest gold producer, Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI.JO), and its largest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum Ltd. Anglo Platinum shut five of its mines, or about a third of production last week, but said it planned to reopen Tuesday thanks to a police crackdown that has stifled a number of the protests since Friday.
Aquarius Platinum Ltd (APQ.AU) also said Monday that it had restarted platinum production at its Kroondal mine in the Rustenburg region, about 100 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg.
Mr. Tsatsawane said the amount of lost production at Xstrata's Kroondal mine "has not been quantified" yet.
-Write to Alex MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires