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South African Violence Returns As All Miners Demand Pay Hike

Tyler Durden's picture


Rumors about the death of the South African miner strike seem to have been greatly exaggerated following the agreement by Lonmin to hike miner pay by 22%. The reason: the precedent has now been set and everyone else demands equitable treatment: i.e., the same pay hike as Lonmin agreed to. From Al Jazeera: "South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters near a mine run by the world's biggest platinum producer Anglo American Platinum, as unrest spreads after strikers at rival Lonmin won big pay rises. Within hours of Lonmin agreeing pay rises of up to 22 per cent, workers at nearby mines called for similar pay increases on Wednesday, spelling more trouble after six weeks of industrial action that claimed more than 40 lives and rocked South Africa's economy." For those curious what it means when the precedent has been set and one corporation has caved on the issue of pay here it is: "Police clashed with a crowd of men carrying traditional weapons such as spears and machetes in a township at a nearby Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine outside the city of Rustenburg. Officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse an "illegal gathering", police spokesman Dennis Adriao said. He had no information on any injuries." So much for the strikes being over: thanks to Lonmin's caving, they have only just started.

"We want management to meet us as well now," an organiser for the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at Impala Platinum, the second biggest platinum producer, told Reuters.


"We want 9,000 rand ($1,100) a month as a basic wage instead of the roughly 5,000 rand we are getting," said the organiser,  who declined to be named fearing recriminations from the firm.


A labour activist said workers who had stayed off the job at Amplats, which accounts for 40 per cent of global supplies of the metal used for catalytic converters in cars and jewellery, were inspired by Lonmin and would press on with their demands.


"The mood here is upbeat, very celebratory," Mametlwe Sebei, a community representative near Rustenburg, said. "Victory is in sight. The workers are celebrating Lonmin as a victory."


President Jacob Zuma expressed relief at the pay deal after criticism from the opposition and media of the government's handling of the crisis - not least in the aftermath of the police killing of 34 Marikana miners on August 16.


Further fueling union rivalry, jubilant workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine, 100km northwest of Johannesburg, painted the wage deal as a victory for AMCU over the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), an ally of the ruling African National Congress.

Naturally, this is all perfectly logical. Yesterday, when reporting the Lonmin news we said:

The question now is: how many laborers, miners and otherwise who have all the leverage in a world in which corporations have gradually fired virtually everyone but the absolutely muscle that drives corporate top and bottom-lines, will follow suit, and demand equitable treatment in a world in which the central bankers are hell bent on sending inflation off the charts.

The answer: everyone.

Our other question was just as rhetorical: "And what happens to aggregate prices if wages around the world suddenly receive a comparable 22% upward step-function? We will let you know as we find out."

We sure will.



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Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:46 | 2812534 hedgeless_horseman
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"Police clashed with a crowd of men carrying traditional weapons such as spears and machetes in a township at a nearby Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine outside the city of Rustenburg.

Zulu!  Zulu!  Zulu!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:50 | 2812562 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Thank god it's blacks shooting blacks.  Otherwise, this could get ugly.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:55 | 2812596 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

"Blood Gold?"

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:56 | 2812608 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

That's a buy.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:24 | 2812716 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

The government is seriously contemplating a "cat food for labor" program, recruiting prawns from District 9 to do mining work. Krugman is advising the government, and is a huge supporter of inflating the price of cat food this way, even though many seniors may starve.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 05:41 | 2814159 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

not sure about the catfood or the prawns (seems exotically attractive at first reading) but the original post may have a flaw in its reasoning.  

the idea that because a company has fired all but the muscle that drives earnings and revenues somehow gives labor an edge only works if the fired are not available to fill what some call, assuming a union, the roles of scabs.  somehow i think, world wide, there are plenty on offer and few corporations need fear being forced by traditional weapons or otherwise to give a 22%, or any, wage increase to their cowed workers.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:05 | 2812868 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

...all for the "Good and Glory of the Crown."

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:52 | 2813034 Don Diego
Don Diego's picture

down with the oppressive South African regime....oh wait!

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:18 | 2814075 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

They've the power of 'americanism' now...

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:39 | 2814089 akak
akak's picture

Give us a clear definition of "Americanism" or shut the fuck up, you insane roadside crapping bigoted troll.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:08 | 2812662 SeverinSlade
SeverinSlade's picture

It's going to get ugly for miners everywhere.

What I'm curious to know is how it'll impact streaming companies like SLW.  How are streams going to be affected when companies like Goldcorp have to hike wages, which compresses their margins?  Are they still going to happily turn around and sell their silver to SLW at $4-5 per toz?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:59 | 2813054 Solarman
Solarman's picture

Happily no, contractually, yes.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:13 | 2812681 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Gun "accidents" is SA are at least as prevelant as "boating accidents" at ZH.  There is no shortage of firearms in South Africa.  They choose to bring machetes for a reason, and they're not stupid (savage is a different quesion).

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:54 | 2812835 Antifaschistische
Antifaschistische's picture





Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:09 | 2812873 zoggl
zoggl's picture


District 9 ?

If you haven't seen this movie, it's a mandatory must see:

compare the 2 videos ...


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:46 | 2812537 xtop23
xtop23's picture

platinum bounce anyone?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:42 | 2813000 Ratscam
Ratscam's picture

still at a 135 disount to gold, hence a buy. research the rest yourself.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:46 | 2812538 ZDRuX
ZDRuX's picture

Point of the story: People don't care how much they make. As long as the guy next to them isn't making more.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:05 | 2812649 john39
john39's picture

all people have a basic sense of fairness...   when it becomes 100% obvious that they are getting screwed, they react...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:15 | 2812682 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

"all people have a basic sense of fairness" - every time I hear the word "fair" I want to puke, this word had a reasonable meaning long ago now it's a substitute for "from everybody according to their abilities to everybody according to their needs" nothing more

"when it becomes 100% obvious that they are getting screwed, they react" - no when it becomes obvious that their neighbors are fairing better than they are, they react, everybody's completely content as long as everybody else is sitting in the same shit

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:46 | 2812804 duo
duo's picture

you heard it here first....NYPD demands 22% pay raise because their job is "as dangerous as mining gold".

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:46 | 2812539 Precious
Precious's picture

Remember.  Bloomberg says there is no reason for civilians to own guns.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:11 | 2812674 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

That's so stupid. Guns don't kill people......large sodas kill people.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:46 | 2812794 CPL
CPL's picture

It s far worse than understood.  I understand that someone can drown in a tablespoon of liquid.


It is my supposition that nursing homes are heavily armed with nana's slurping soup.  Spoons full of liquid chicken broth hate.


Simply terrifying. 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:48 | 2812543 bania
bania's picture

PM's might demand a price hike too.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:20 | 2812701 PiratePawpaw
PiratePawpaw's picture

Silver Up $1 thursday, or

Silver up $1 Friday

Either way it ends the week up and pushing $37. We break that next week, then it gets interesting.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:48 | 2812552 SemperFord
SemperFord's picture

Benny I want my 22% on the precious metals I used to have before that unfortunate boating accident!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:50 | 2812561 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

Still got the blues. Internet blues. This time IS different.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:52 | 2812569 Hmm...
Hmm...'s picture

an honest question:

does labor input have a significant impact on the price of precious metals in the commodity markets?

Seems to me that labor is a minimal price input to PMs, but could be wrong.

For instance, if FoxComm workers struck and received a 20% wage increase it would barely change the price of an Ipad/Ipod/Iphone.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:13 | 2812684 SeverinSlade
SeverinSlade's picture

I would imagine that it does, considering that comparing Apple to say, Barrick Gold is comparing apples to oranges.

FoxConn constructs Apple products in a highly mechanized factory.  Mining metals is extremely labor intensive (i.e. very hard work).  One FoxConn worker can assemble a lot of iPads.  One miner cannot mine a ton of gold by himself.

Just my thoughts, if someone has a more accurate response, go for it.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:41 | 2812784 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

They use a lot of labor in those SA mines, its cost effective to have lots of worker bees as long as they pay for themselves and earn a profit for the company, if the miners got their wildest pay dreams more than half would have to be let go, the other remaining half would require more automation.

My guess is the entire SA mining industry will be downsizing employees and buying more equipment.  

Machines are way cheaper than people, even Africans, when its more profitable for machines the people will be replaced.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:59 | 2812854 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

I'm under the impression that you absolutely need men to mine below ground, to clamber over rocks and debris for quick and accurate placing of explosives, to use their eyes and judgement and arms to pick at the rock walls. 

That said, I'm also under the impression that the gold refined and above ground is rather large in volume as compared to supply, thus labor rates, a single factor in the cost to supply new gold, is not as impactful directly - unless of course, you are not supplying at all!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:53 | 2812830 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Not really.  New supply is still trivial in relation to demand and pretty much all the gold ever mined is still around.  Now finding out WHERE IT IS?...



Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:18 | 2812898 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:53 | 2812573 GottaBKiddn
GottaBKiddn's picture

Colonial Mining jobs are supposed to be low-paying, They just are!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:53 | 2812580 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

For how long did people think that South African miners would be paid a pittance while Australian mining truck drivers could be paid up to $300K per year?

The wages in South Africa still reflect an ongoing apartheid because no white south African would go down a mine shaft for what is currently paid.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:09 | 2812664 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

I read recently that the minimum wage in Australia is now $15/hr.  Anyone know what that translates into in lifestyle?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:36 | 2812762 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

That is still twice the rate of the USA and does not take into account the handouts by government if you have a family.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:15 | 2812903 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

Median house price in Sydney is about $600,000.

Median household income there (in NSW) is only $45,000

That's why mortgage defaults are rising there and will intensify as both the resource industry and construction slows down.

My friend there sold his house last year for a whopping $863,000. he had paid only $245,000 for it in 2000. he said he will rent until houses drop back to "normal." Can you guess what he bought at the Perth Mint with all that extra profit?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:44 | 2813472 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Thanks, the numbers mean less all the time without context,  and I'm a friggin CPA.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:56 | 2812842 DosZap
DosZap's picture

The wages in South Africa still reflect an ongoing apartheid because no white south African would go down a mine shaft for what is currently paid.


No it doesn't, all it takes is a set of balls, and they will get some, most of their demands.

The other mines SHOULD up the payscale for similar workers, if they want this to not cascade.

It's been this way, in every country I know of, if you do not meet your comps wages,working conditions, you lose people, and or they strike.

If the other mines want the Upper hand w/lower wages, they should expect to get a shutdown, and losing people to the firms that pay best.

Learned a LONG time ago, if you busted your ass, and deserved a raise, 99% of the time you DID not get one.

YOU had to push the issue, and ASK for one.People(owners/Corporations) do not by nature reward hard work on it's merit, but they damn sure will dump poor performers.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:50 | 2813027 Ratscam
Ratscam's picture

learn from the rich people how to save money

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:54 | 2812585 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

I'd like some "equitable treatment" my own damn self.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:54 | 2812588 Abraxas
Abraxas's picture

Greedy miners! Didn't they hear about the austerity and self-sacrifice. We have lots of Milton Friedman's lovers around here to teach them to shut up and dig, because that's how the free-market works. If they have to employ torture and police brutality to set them straight, so be it. It's for their own benefit in the long run. Gotta protect the markets from the people.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:23 | 2812713 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

But greed was supposed to be good... maybe Uncle Miltie meant to qualify it as greed is great as long as you are not part of the laboring class....

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:25 | 2812725 xtop23
xtop23's picture

That is incorrect.

In a true free market the mining company would be unable to find miners unless they paid a wage that the market would bear. Assuming they were paying a wage that was insufficient, they would be unable to fill those positions.

I would also equate the application of force closer to slavery than a true free market solution.



Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:58 | 2812850 Abraxas
Abraxas's picture

But, where is this free-market you are talking about. It's an idea, a concept, not a real thing. Also it's a terribly misused concept by the same people who pretend they are embracing.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:55 | 2812592 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

minimum rage increase bitchez!!!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:57 | 2812604 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

hope they get their $1100/month.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:57 | 2812610 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Anglo American Platinum ???......someone may want to talk to the marketing department

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:14 | 2812687 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:58 | 2812618 BandGap
BandGap's picture

Hard to see that coming, I feel for the mining company management for being blindsided here. Employees never talk about salaries and you wouldn't read about this in a newspaper.

Full blown retard. Any bets the contract workers that also service the mines want a piece of the action? I mean, that's just a guess. Because we live in a world where nothing is obvious.



Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:02 | 2812633 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Employees never talk about salaries?  You must work at a convent.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:19 | 2812698 BandGap
BandGap's picture

Some people here are full blown retards. Does one really HAVE to signify sarcasm in order for idiots to see it? Sort of ruins the delivery.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:00 | 2812622 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

In a sense, I'd feel for the corporates......if they didn't park their ideology with the central and big banking houses that fund their debt (which they skim off the top), that corporates(who skim off the top) use to pay workers (whose unions leaders skim off the top).

We live in financial apartheid.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:01 | 2812630 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

At least they don't make iPhones.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:09 | 2812667 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Where's Nelson these days? Oh end the apartheid it will be great.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:23 | 2814079 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

'Americanism' is no improvement on SA apartheid regime?

It might explain why 'americans' were so friendly to the SA apartheid regime. The perspective of that ugly truth does not serve well for the best thing ever to happen to humanity.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:35 | 2814088 akak
akak's picture

I challenge you to define the word "Americanism", a.k.a. your former "US Citizenism", as you (mis)use it.

Go ahead --- I dare you.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 22:09 | 2813662 DaveA
DaveA's picture

Russia didn't suddenly "become rich"; according to the article, they've been mining this stash since the 1970s but kept it secret to avoid crashing the market. Now that any sort of diamond can be synthesized, most diamond mines will probably close in the next ten years.

There are tests to detect synthetic stones, but only because CVD diamonds are too perfect to have formed naturally.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:15 | 2812680 Undecided
Undecided's picture


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:13 | 2812685 Super Marco
Super Marco's picture

I live in Johannesburg far away from mines... atleast!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:16 | 2812688 Super Marco
Super Marco's picture

Julius Malema said something about the fuel in the police helicopter at the expense of taxpayers. Atleast that mansion of his in Sandhurt isn't... oh wait.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:18 | 2812694 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture


This should send the market soaring tomorrow!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:20 | 2812703 Super Marco
Super Marco's picture

I'm making jokes. I just realized basic material stocks are 22% of my portfolio.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:23 | 2812710 monopoly
monopoly's picture

Miners will do just fine. Less gold produced = higher price. And when they settle, thanks to our all knowing Govt. higher price. Not concerned.

And off topic, unless my eyes deceive me and my charts took a brain fart....Well JCP, Yikes. A lot of money destroyed in 30 minutes.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:30 | 2812738 TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

Bernanke says owners MUST keep wages low in USA. Commodities are not part of core inflation, so people can starve if you hold the line on wages, but my inflation indicator will allow me QEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Bernanke says my job is unemployment and inflation, so foock wage growth and REAL wealth creation. Now I am a magician, so I create illusory wealth by growing nominal GNP. Watch the stock market go......see Obama, "I did create that" 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:50 | 2812820 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

These people are so screwed once the robots can be programmed to dig.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:57 | 2812844 CPL
CPL's picture

There are bots to do it, but if left to their own devices they would reduce the above landscape to rubble and more than likely get stuck down a hole.  As a spieces closest bot we've come to useful in practical tasks is the Asimo made and leased by Honda.  It however can only be 7 and a half minutes away from it's charge station with a run time of only 15 minutes.  In reality you would want to make it closer...


Again, human's are very cheap in comparison to robots plus they dont need easily cut cables bolted to a torso.  We are talking about an area of the world that is having problems keeping the lights on, coal shippments coming and diesel flowing.  

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:24 | 2814080 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

They are very cheap until they are submitted to that 'american' thing called marketing. From that point on, they grow more and more expensive...

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:38 | 2814087 akak
akak's picture

Define "American" as you use the word or shut the fuck up once and for all, you insane and bigoted troll.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:52 | 2812827 KickIce
KickIce's picture
We are preparing as well, saw this in the classifieds. 31B Military Police - Police Officer Job ID: 250052 Job Views: 2 Location: xxxxxxxxxxx, United States ZIP Code: 35805 Job Category: Military Police Posted: 09.19.2012 Job Description

Looking for a law enforcement career? The Army National Guard is looking for dedicated team members to serve their community, state, and nation as Military Police (MPs).

MPs support battlefield operations through circulation control, providing area security, conducting prisoner of war operations, supervising civilian internee operations, and carrying out law and order operations. MPs also support the peacetime Army community protecting critical resources, implementing crime prevention programs, and preserving law and order.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:58 | 2812847 KickIce
KickIce's picture

And this one:

92G Food Service Specialist

Updated: 09/19/2012
City: xxxxxxxxxxx
Company: National Guard
Source: National Guard

It's said that an army marches on its stomach. If that's the case, you can be the Soldier who keeps the Army National Guard marching on. In the Army National...
Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:02 | 2812863 besnook
besnook's picture

meanwhile in the usa, labor is against unions, don't mind getting paid diddly beacause they are thankful to have a job and are too fat and apathetic to do anything about it anyway. the corporatocracy/ bankster economy/.gov is safe because the usa is so civilized. only savages fight for fair pay and their own human rights.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:03 | 2812865 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

You can tell a lot about people given the way they attempt to negotiate.  One of the giveaways regarding how much someone values their case is how much they expect in compensation.  Here, folks are asking for raises that...  wait for it....  wait for it...  keep them in poverty.  The one chance they have...  the one time where solidarity is apparent...  and they have a common goal...  the one shot...  they SEEK TO REMAIN IN POVERTY.  Says a lot about their locus of control, no?  These are born slaves.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:27 | 2812938 besnook
besnook's picture

you take what you can get first before you take what you want. that is next.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:15 | 2813111 RECISION
RECISION's picture

So this would be the rising wages part of INFLATION would it...?

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 02:21 | 2814036 flyingpigg
flyingpigg's picture

Yes: wage inflation. This is the inflation central bankers hate but they caused it themselves by undermining the confidence in fiat with endless moneyprinting => higher prices for precious metals => improved margins for mining companies => miners demanding higher wages to get a share of the profits.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:57 | 2813232 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Just print 22% more.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:07 | 2813249 TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

Daddy Bernanke would NEVER print for wage earners as this might harm his rich peers!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:31 | 2813304 dolph9
dolph9's picture

If you want to invest in miners, political stability is key.  Well, as much as can be had.

I personally wouldn't invest in any company that does much business in Africa.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:38 | 2813330 Rockfish
Rockfish's picture

Now this is inflationary.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:21 | 2813424 WilliamD
WilliamD's picture

I've been a regular ZH reader for over 8 years, but this is my last visit. This article was the last straw. ZH used to be pro-truth, anti corporate, and pro regular guy. Now its all libertard b.s., low-brow journalism, and corporate boot-licking.

Congratulations, ZH, you've made youself about as relevant an alternative news source as Rush Limbaugh.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:39 | 2813458 akak
akak's picture

Aside from not being able to figure out what the Hell you are talking about in terms of "corporate boot-licking" here, your history on ZeroHedge is remarkable, considering that ZeroHedge has not even been in existence for eight years.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:58 | 2813507 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


your history on ZeroHedge is remarkable, considering that ZeroHedge has not even been in existence for eight years.

If calculated using Krugmath, the eight year figure is accurate.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:50 | 2813485 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

go miners go!!!! those plutocratic assholes are disgusting....and yes, the price of gold is going higher in fiat terms....imagine that - how could that barbaric relic increase in my my

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 22:55 | 2813760 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Newly opened Pandora's box - add this one to the plethora of other open ones...

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!