South Africa mining unions reject latest offer from gold producers
In the fight for fair salary wages, South African mining unions aren’t backing down. On Monday, the unions rejected the first pay offer presented by gold mining companies, sticking to their demand for a wage increase of more than 80 percent, according to Bloomberg.
“We want the money,” said Livhuwani Mammburu, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers on Monday.
The proposed offer from AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold, Evander Gold Mines and Village Main Reef included wage increases ranging from 7.8 percent to 13 percent, based on a five-year deal, with a five percent increase in the first year. In addition, share of profits and improved job security and living conditions were included in the offer.
• Related content: Wage negotiations get underway for South Africa's gold miners
The unions, which include the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Association of Mineworks and Construction Union (Amcu), Solidarity and United Association of SA (Uasa), have all refused the offer.
Instead, the unions are demanding gold producers to raise the basic pay for underground workers to 10,500 rand (US$846) a month from 5,700 rand (US$456), and to raise basic pay for above-ground employee to 9,500 rand (US$760), including a 15 percent increase for all other categories.
“In large part, all four unions retained their demands without any movement,” Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for the gold producers, told Bloomberg.
Russell said talks will continue on Tuesday as the “companies remain committed to reaching agreement based on the sustainability of the industry and the retention of jobs.”
The latest rejection appears to be the first signs of a long and difficult road in appeasing both sides.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.