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Sibanye braces for expanded South African strike, expects support from US ops

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Sibanye braces for expanded South African strike, expects support from US ops

Sibanye Gold Ltd. CEO Neal Froneman said the company has a contingency plan in place for an impending strike at its platinum group metals operations in South Africa, Mining Weekly reported Jan. 15.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or AMCU on Jan. 14 confirmed it would move forward Jan. 22 with a secondary strike at the PGM operations, in support of an ongoing strike at the miner's gold operations in the country.

Sibanye has been preparing its platinum operations for the action, with Froneman noting that the company's PGM operations in the U.S. provide diversification and support through the strike amid strong palladium prices.

The unionized members have been on strike since late November 2018, demanding better wages. The AMCU is the only union that did not sign a wage deal with Sibanye.

"We reiterate that the wage agreement we reached with the unions representing the majority of our employees employed at our gold operations is fair and final and will not be amended by AMCU's demands or threats," said Froneman. The executive noted that Sibanye employees would still be subject to the no-work, no-pay principle.

Sibanye employs around 17,400 people at its South African PGM operations, with AMCU representing about 56% of the employees at the Kroondal joint venture and 71% of the workers at the Rustenburg operations, according to the report.

The company recently dropped its 2018 gold production guidance to about 1.1 million ounces, from a range of 1.13 Moz to 1.16 Moz previously, and expects its earnings to be affected by the ongoing strike.