Kwezi shaft opens
AQUARIUS Platinum has reopened the Kwezi shaft at its Kroondal mine in North West, where operations were suspended after clashes at the site that left three dead and at least 20 injured, a spokeswoman said.
Violent confrontations like this are likely to increase as several platinum miners are reviewing operations and are mulling, or have announced, possible closures and suspensions of their shafts in the face of a difficult market.
Aquarius said that on Wednesday about 200 people, some of them armed, forced their way onto mine property and clashed with security guards. They are believed to be former employees of a mining contractor who were dismissed after an illegal strike in June.
"The night shift and the day shift have proceeded as planned and the situation is calm," the spokeswoman said. The world's fourth-largest platinum miner said it had lost about 2800 tons of production as a result of the incident.
This follows the company's plans to limit mining activities to conserve cash and guard its reserves until economic circumstances change.
Police said petrol bombs were confiscated. Ballistic testing and autopsies will be conducted.
"A case of murder and attempted murder is being investigated," police said.
The platinum sector is battling the impact of falling prices, weak demand, soaring costs and a government safety drive that has cut production as operations are suspended for safety violations.