Northam Platinum lost R15 mln a day in work stoppage

Northam suspended operations at the mine on 6 June after a worker was fatally stabbed.

FILE: Northam Platinum's Zondereinde Mine. Picture: Northam Platinum.

JOHANNESBURG - The Northam Platinum lost R15 million rand a day in revenue during a week-long work stoppage at Zondereinde mine, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Memory Johnstone said about 7,000 ounces of output were lost at the mine which produces about 300,000 ounces of platinum a year and accounts for 70 percent of the mid-tier producer's revenue.

Northam suspended operations at the mine on June 6 after a worker was fatally stabbed when members of the National Union of Mineworkers clashed with those from the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

That clash was triggered by the murder of an NUM member on 5 June . The NUM is the majority union at the mine.

Production resumed late on Tuesday.

Normal production at Zondereinde will resume next week, Johnstone said. The firm has previously said work stoppages could jeopardise the future of the firm's biggest revenue earner.

After years of dominance NUM was unseated by Amcu as the biggest union in the sector in a bloody turf war that persists.

South Africa is by far the world's largest platinum producer, and the industry has been squeezed between rising costs, labour unrest and falling prices. Demand for the metal used to build emissions-cutting catalytic converters in automobiles has also been tepid.

The Amcu union said on Tuesday its members would not be returning to work.