Strike ended after five days at Bushveld Minerals’ North West Vametco mine

A STRIKE at the Vametco premises of South African vanadium producer, Bushveld Minerals, had been bought to an end, the company said in an announcement today. The strike lasted for five days.

Bushveld Minerals has agreed with the recognised union, the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) to pay each employee R4,500. This was in recognition of loss of earnings related to production bonuses during a 35-day maintenance programme.

As part of the agreement, there is recognition of the recently agreed employee participation plan (EPP) in which money is paid out in relation to the profitability of Bushveld Minerals. There was also acknowledgment the strike was illegal.

“Plans are underway to engage with employees on the details of the recently signed EPP agreement as well as to review the company’s production compensation framework to improve alignment with the company’s operational targets,” Bushveld Minerals said.

Care and maintenance activities were conducted throughout the period to enable a smooth start-up. “The impact, if any, of these five days of industrial action on production will be provided in the upcoming quarterly production report,” the company said.

The strike may represent a bit of a blow to Bushveld Minerals which had targeted reliable production this year following unplanned maintenance-related stoppages that hurt fourth quarter production.

Bushveld Minerals’ vanadium production for 2021 was recently estimated to be between 4,100 tons to 4,350 tons. This represented a 13% to 20% increase over 2020 production (3,631 tons), including the planned maintenance at Vametco.

In addition to its Vametco facilities, situated near Rustenburg in the North West province, Bushveld also produces vanadium from Vanchem at Emalahleni in Mpumalanga province.