Lonmin secures wage deal but strikes spread

LONMIN shares spiked nine per cent in opening trade yesterday, as miners at the Marikana mine are due to return to work this morning.

Over the six weeks since the strike started on 10 August, Lonmin’s share price has dropped from 753p to 654p.

It ended down 0.62 per cent at the close of play yesterday.

A wage agreement was signed earlier this week, which offered strikers a signing bonus of 2,000 rand and an average wage rise of between 11 and 22 per cent. They had originally demanded 12,500 rand a month.

Despite a resolution at Marikana, strikes are still occurring across South Africa’s platinum belt, as neighbouring mines are calling for similar pay hikes.

It is understood that police fired tear gas at protestors at a mine run by top precious metal producer Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) yesterday, as miners demanded higher wages.

The producer’s Rustenberg operations were closed last weekend due to violence and intimidation at the mines, although they reopened on Tuesday. Amplats has told its employees that if they do not return to work by this evening, “legal avenues will be pursued”.

Gold producer Gold Fields is also dealing with a strike, which is into its 11th day, at its KDC West mine near Johannesburg. Around 85 per cent of its 15,000 workers are on strike, according to a Gold Fields spokesman. However, he insisted that none of their demands can be entertained at the moment due to a two-year collective wage agreement signed last year.