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South African court blocks mining trade union's planned expanded strike

South Africa's labor court blocked the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's request for an expanded strike at several platinum and gold mines in the country, Lonmin PLC confirmed in a March 15 release.

The proposed labor action, intended to support an ongoing strike at Sibanye Gold Ltd.'s gold mines, was initially scheduled between Feb. 28 and March 7 but the court suspended it Feb. 28 pending a judgment over its legality.

According to a same-day Reuters report, Judge Connie Prinsloo said a secondary strike, which would affect at least 15 miners, would put the country's entire economy at risk.

"This factor certainly outweighs the negligible effect the secondary strike may have on Sibanye and therefore renders it unreasonable," the judge said.

Lonmin said its operations will continue as normal, while Anglo American Platinum Ltd. CEO Chris Griffith welcomed the news in a statement sent to the news wire.

In a separate statement, the union said it plans to lodge an appeal against the decision, which it described as a "serious infringement on the right of workers."