Illegal mine strike in Limpopo ends

Village Gold Managing Director breathes a sigh of relief as disgruntled workers emerge.

A miner. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESURG - More than 120 gold miners at Village Main Reef's Consolidated Murchison mine shaft in Northern Limpopo have emerged from underground after staging a 10 day sit-in.

On Wednesday the mining group announced its intention to dismiss 918 workers after they embarked on an unprotected strike this week.

The workers were demanding to be paid out dividends from a company trust.

The majority of striking workers belong to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Workers started leaving the shaft during the early hours of the morning.

Village Gold Managing Director Ferdi Dippenaar says the company is relieved.

"I think the underground employees saw their support disappear. It's been nine or 10 days and you can only sit in so long. All in all we're pretty pleased it's come to an end."

Talks that started on Thursday have been billed as the toughest since the end of apartheid, with demands for a doubling of basic pay.

Since January, the price of gold has decreased by over 25 percent.

Producers also face shrinking profit margins.