Sibanye Says Gold Mines Shut Down After Strike Turns Violent

(Bloomberg) -- Sibanye Gold Ltd. shut down all its gold mining operations in South Africa after violence broke out during a strike by workers demanding higher wages.

Operations at Driefontein, Kloof and Beatrix mines, major sources of revenue for the producer, were suspended late on Wednesday due to strike action, James Wellsted, the company spokesman, said on Thursday. South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union downed tools following a wage dispute, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said.

“There was no operation taking place, it’s unlikely that we will operate,” Wellsted said. “There has been intimidation and violence and for now we are not able to continue with operations in the interests of the safety of our workers.”

Sibanye, the largest producer of South African gold, and also the biggest employer in the gold industry, reached a wage deal with three other unions but failed to conclude an agreement with AMCU. The company, which also mines platinum group metals, cut its forecast for gold this year to between 1.13 million ounces and 1.16 million ounces, from an earlier projection of 1.24 million ounces to 1.29 million ounces, after operations took a knock from safety-related problems.

A member of AMCU was shot at the Kloof mine, hours after the strike started, the union said. The labor groups are split throughout Sibanye’s operations. AMCU represents two-thirds of the workers at Driefontein and about a third at each of Kloof and Beatrix.

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