* Amplats threatens to fire illegal strikers
* AngloGold says may have to scale back S.Africa ops
* Another illegal strike hits platinum sector
By Ed Stoddard
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 1 Top global platinum producer
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said on Monday it
would fire all strikers who did not attend disciplinary hearings
the following day as an illegal strike continued at 4 of its
South African mines.
With no end in sight to a spate of wildcat strikes in South
Africa, AngloGold Ashanti warned that an illegal
stoppage could lead to cuts in its operations there and said it
might also have to fire workers.
Amid the tough talk from mining bosses, another illegal
strike broke out on Monday at the Bokoni platinum mine run by
Amplats and Canadian-based Atlatsa Resources.
The Bokoni strike is worrying because it is in the far
eastern limb of the platinum belt, hundreds of kilometres from
the wave of labour strife centred around the cities of
Rustenburg and Marikana, where 46 people were killed in a bloody
6-week stoppage at Lonmin.
Police said on Monday another body had been found in the
Rustenburg area near an Amplats property and they believed the
death was related to the mine violence.
Amplats' four Rustenburg mines have been shut for over 2
weeks at a cost of over 20,000 ounces in lost output and the
company will now sack employees who do not report to
disciplinary hearings by Tuesday.
"The company will be left with no alternative but to
dismiss, in their absence, all employees who do not present
themselves," it said in a statement.
In total, there are around 75,000 miners on strike across
South Africa's gold and platinum sectors, about 15 percent of
the underground labour force. Virtually all of the strikes are
The chief executive of AngloGold, the world's third largest
gold producer, issued a stern warning on Monday about the
viability of its South African operations and said the illegal
strike by 24,000 of its 35,000 workers could lead to dismissals.
"If the current unprotected strike continues, it compounds
risks of a premature downsizing of AngloGold Ashanti's South
African operations," Mark Cutifani told a briefing that was
webcast to employees.
He added the company could take action, potentially
including dismissals, against striking employees.
Cutifani also said there were no immediate plans to scale
back on 4.5 billion rand ($540.91 million) in capital investment
plans in South Africa this year but the country was becoming a
tough sell to investors.
"If we don't resolve the issue then how do I justify to
shareholders that we should continue to invest in South Africa,"
Cutifani also said the demands being made were unclear.
"It's mainly about money, but when you ask people what does
that look like, they are unable to tell you," Cutifani told
He said it could be 16,000 rand a month or 18,000 rand but
the demands did not specify if this was across the board or a
basic wage or included the whole package. "It's just a number.
We don't even know what that means."
AngloGold's South African operations accounted for 32
percent of the group's production in the first half of 2012 and
the company said it was losing around 32,000 ounces of
production a week due to the strike.
Gold mining in South Africa is generally on the decline as
resources mined for decades run out and shafts have to sink
deeper to get to the ore, raising costs.
Labour violence first erupted on South Africa's platinum
belt as a turf war between the militant Association of
Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the dominant
National Union of Mineworkers.
Fueled by glaring income disparities, the strikes have hit
also hit AngloGold's rival Gold Fields and smaller