NUM asks Mantashe to make good on Sibanye-Stillwater mining licence threat

Members of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), who have been on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations since March 9, hold placards as they stage a protest outside the company's Kloof Mine, in the southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, March 25, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

THE National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) wants the South Africa’s mines minister to make good on his threat to withdraw the mining licences of Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines, said Fin24 in a report on Monday.

It quoted the NUM has saying: “With poor black mineworkers on strike for almost three months demanding a mere R1 000 and 6% in living wages, Sibanye-Stillwater continues to show workers a middle finger”.

“We will be fully supporting the minister when he starts the process of revoking Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining licence. We are calling for Minister Gwede Mantashe not to capitulate when threatened with legal action by this evil company.”

Commenting on a strike at the firm’s gold mining operations, Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman told Miningmx that his company was not under pressure to conclude a deal with unions at its gold mines as it could survive a strike “for years and years””.

He added that: “But that’s not what we are trying to do. We are extremely concerned about the fact our employees are not receiving their pay”.

In concluding remarks after the debate on the mineral resources and energy budget vote in Parliament last Thursday, Mantashe said: “The message he is sending to us is that he is not ready to actually mine gold. He has enough money to fight a strike and stop production for years and years”.

“And that actually sends us a message that says the department, relevant officials look into the possibility of the application of section 47. A mine that does not want to mine but sit on the properties … so that we can give that property to companies that want to mine gold.”

Speaking to BusinessLive, the company’s spokesman James Wellsted commented that the firm reserved the right to protect the interests of its stakeholders through appropriate legal channels.

BusinessLive added that the government’s threats were without substance. “I don’t think Mantashe is going to get far with it. The mines are on strike. I think he will not get anywhere in court,” said René Hochreiter, a consulting mining analyst at Noah Capital Markets and Sieberana Research.