Africa-focused Pan African Resources’ Barberton Mines has lost a number of production days as a result of protest action, which the miner says is unrelated to normal industrial action.
In a statement issued on Friday, Pan African said it would take the appropriate action to protect its employees and assets in the interest of all its stakeholders, supported by the South African law enforcement authorities.
Interdicts have been served and further criminal and civil actions will follow against certain individuals and organisations.
CEO Cobus Loots said the miner would continue to work with all stakeholders, including employees, unions, law enforcement agencies and the surrounding communities.
He added that the miner’s current operations had been “brought to their knees by unrest and extortion”, which would result in the whole community suffering repercussions that would be detrimental to all stakeholders.
According to the release, mine management recently witnessed, or had been made aware of, several approaches with the intent of extorting money and jobs from the operations through irregular means, including the bribing of employees for irregular contracts, and circumventing tender policies and procedures for personal gain, besides others.
While increased security and internal investigations had contributed to a decrease in these incidents, it came at an increased cost, the company lamented.
However, having not achieved success through extortion, the individuals and protestors resorted on Tuesday to blocking roads leading to the Barberton operations, destroying mine property, including burning mine vehicles and an ore concentrate trucks, and threatening employees and preventing them from going to work, and bringing in busloads of protestors from outside the mine’s host communities, under the guise of promises of employment.
The continued disruption to operations and lost production at Barberton Mines will have a detrimental effect on the local economy and the surrounding communities and the South African fiscus, Pan African said.
The miner explained that, over the past five-year period, Barberton Mines had contributed more than R660-million in royalties and taxes to the fiscus, over R2.1-billion in expenditure to suppliers for materials and services and about R807-million in capital expenditure at its operations.
Following the closure of other gold mines in the region, Barberton Mines has the region’s longest running operations, of more than 130 years, and has about 2 617 employees and contractors who are currently engaged at the three Barberton Mines operations, namely Fairview, New Consort and Sheba.