Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Lonmin mine production resumes

Mineworkers at the Lonmin site near Rustenburg, South Africa (AP)

The South African mine at the centre of the violence that saw 34 people gunned down has resumed production after nearly a third of its staff returned to work.

Lonmin had ordered 3,000 illegally striking rock drill operators to return to work or risk losing their jobs at its Marikana mine, and appealed to a further 25,000 staff and 10,000 contractors to report for duty after police said it was safe.

At first only 27% of its 28,000 workforce turned up after being put off by the fear of more violence, but as more staff joined the shift the group was able to restart production - albeit on a significantly reduced scale.

Shares have fallen a further 4% on top of the 15% falls last week after 34 miners were shot by police in one of the worst displays of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.

Mark Munroe, Lonmin's executive vice-president for mining, said: "What has happened here has been a tragedy, and the pain and anger it has led to will take time to heal.

"But those representing the vast majority of our workforce have been clear again in our discussions today that we need to try to return to some kind of normality as we go through that healing process."

Lonmin said the illegal strikers who failed to return to work will not be dismissed as it had previously threatened, but will be given an extra day to return.

Mr Munroe added: "Tens of thousands of people's livelihoods rely on Lonmin, as well as much of the local infrastructure we provide in terms of health, water, education and housing.

"We have visited many of the injured in hospital, and met the families of the deceased. Nothing makes up for their loss but we are providing all the support we can, both emotionally and practically, to help them cope, and I'm proud of the work our teams are doing there."

To add to Lonmin's woes, Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock from "hold" to "sell" following reports it is considering a billion dollar (£640 million) emergency fundraising move.

https://www.lonmin.com/(Lonmin)

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