Stiking South Africa Miners Set To "Bring The Mining Companies To Their Knees", Call For National Strike

Tyler Durden's picture

As if Bernanke promising to print, print, print until such time as the Fed's flawed policy brings unemployment lower, which by definition will not happen when the US is now suffering not from a structural unemployment "part-time new normal" problem, was not sufficient to send gold and other hard assets higher, today we get the double whammy announcement that the situation in South Africa, already very bad, is about to get much worse. Earlier today, South Africa's striking miners, already set on belligerent courtesy with their employers and authorities, prepare to go on general strike on Sunday, in effect shutting down all precious metal production in a world that is about to demand hard asset more than ever. "On Sunday, we are starting with a general strike here in Rustenburg," demonstration leader Mametlwe Sebei told several thousand workers at a soccer stadium in the heart of the platinum belt near Rustenburg, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. The action was designed to "bring the mining companies to their knees", he said, to mild applause from the crowd, which was armed with sticks and machetes."

Apparently the weapons were merely for optical, jawboning purposes: "Despite the weapons, the strikers insisted their push for a sharp hike in wages was peaceful - even after the August 16 police shooting of 34 protesters at Lonmin's nearby Marikana platinum mine." It remains to be determined just how "peaceful" the corporate response will be if and when they realize that dreams of surging profit margins are long gone. Probably not much. But in the meantime, miner EPS will suffer even more. And, as always, the ultimate beneficiary will be the actual metals, not those who extract it, as the third largest producer of gold in the world is about to go offline indefinitely.

From Reuters:

"There should be no blood," one placard read.


The wave of labor unrest rocking Africa's biggest economy kicked off with a violent strike at rival Impala Platinum in January and has since spiraled beyond the control of the government and unions into a grass-roots rebellion by blacks who have seen little improvement in their lives since apartheid ended 18 years ago.


Most men at the soccer stadium said they worked for top producer Anglo American Platinum, commonly known as Amplats, which had to suspend operations its four Rustenburg mines on Wednesday after they were blockaded by chanting marchers.


They also insisted they would not return to work until top management - including Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of Amplats parent company Anglo American - came to listen to their gripes and introduced a basic pay hike to 12,500 rand ($1,500) a month, more than double their current salary.


Shares in Anglo American Platinum, fell as much 1.8 percent in early trade on top of a 4 percent decline the previous day. Platinum held steady near the 5-month high it hit following Wednesday's Amplats shut-downs.

We continue to expect the South African "example" to go airborne, and move east. If and when Indonesia, Peru, and or, heaven forbid, the world's largest producer of gold China, get a whiff of just how much leverage miners actually do have in the world, watch out.

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GetZeeGold's picture



Molly crap.....if they stop mining how are we going to get our gold?


Give them a's just paper.


LULZBank's picture

Someone doesnt want to be mining and exchanging their PMs for paper anymore.

GetZeeGold's picture



Oh great.......we've already sent the shipment of printers. What the hell are we suppose to do now?


flacon's picture

They are literally killing the goose (mine) the lays the golden egg.... how will these people eat when they succed in destroying their only source of income?

LULZBank's picture

They will probably start growing their own food and go back to hunting, like they used to for centuries before the "employment generating coporations" came in distributing their confetti paper.

Ricky Bobby's picture

Can't do that until they finishing killing all the white farmers.

goldfish1's picture

You say that like it's a bad thing.

N. B. Forrest's picture

Maybe we should kill off goldfish1.

goldfish1's picture

You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

hannah's picture

i knew one of those white farmers forced out...his farm is now scrub. these people cant go back to hunting because the population is way too big now. they either get their shit together this time or they are looking at mass starvation and the usa isnt in a position to send food their way ....

BaBaBouy's picture

Pay The Friggin Miners That Go Down 3 Kms To Get The GOLD ...

and ... GOLD $50K ...

moriarty's picture

One of the down sides for the company of paying poverty line (or below) wages is that the miners do not lose much when they are on strike. Great planning by colonial capitalism & the S.A Govt.

Reminds me of Atlas Shrugged when Galt explains that you can only be exploited if you are willing to be. No doubt the miners have all been reading it but if not they have cottoned on one way or another


goldfish1's picture

Will these people rather starve than continue to remain slaves? I admire when people stand together for a common cause.

Over to the teachers in Shi town (funny how that looks in print). I think it would be better to do away with public education the way it is today. Let 'em walk and be joined around the nation by their fellow strikers.

BaBaBouy's picture

Mandela's Grandson Owns GOLD Mines !!!  


Now they can phuck the Workers...

LULZBank's picture

Well, he struggled so hard for that and became the role model. A black man owniing a Gold mine in Africa. Thats the firststep towards freedom and democracy for the Blacks.

N. B. Forrest's picture

So maybe this whole "exploitation" thing isn't a racial thing.  It's just a universal greed thing.  I'm not saying that it is bad or good, just that it's not a white/black thing.

LULZBank's picture

Unrest on the plantations Bitchezz!!!!

i-dog's picture

Yeah ... But don't take a stick to a gunfight!

CPL's picture

Dunno the British had warships, cannons and guns.


If people take note that most Caribeean nations were ex-commonwealth countries.  All it took were sticks, machettes and lots of anger...and that was the end fo England as a super power...then France, Portugal and Spain.


I understand the US had something historically not long after being inspired by pitch forks and torches.  The center does not hold...ever.

EvlTheCat's picture

Why waste your money on warships, cannons and guns when you can create banks.  I think the British just decided to play by a different set of rules.  It may have not worked the first time in America but it certainly did the second time.  A different perspective.

CPL's picture

Banks or bombs.  People don't care much for bombs, but if you get a person under your thumb in debt...

ParkAveFlasher's picture

"But don't take a stick to a gunfight!"

Right, take 20,000 sticks.

LULZBank's picture

If they had guns there would'nt be a "fight" any more. ;)

N. B. Forrest's picture

They do have guns, that's why they're getting killed.  That's why the black police are shooting the black miners, because the black miners are shooting at the black police. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Sooo.....I'm confused. A lot of people here on ZH hate unions, but love PMs. And these striking "Miners" might actually create shortages which will help levitate PM prices. But aren't many of these South African "Miners" unionized?

Is this what they call a cognitive dissonance?

LULZBank's picture


Is this what they call a cognitive dissonance?

Thats 2 BIG words in 1 sentence... not sure what they mean but its called "Dont give a shit where it comes from or how but I need ma moneeeh now!"

GetZeeGold's picture



A lot of people here on ZH hate unions, but love PMs.


Not making the connection really.....oh.....I'm sure it makes sense to you.

CPL's picture

People enjoy the fruits of the labour, they fucking hate talking about how it happens.  Look at your shoes.  A kid making nothing a day to drink dirty puddle water and buy basic life needs made those.  The idea of internet, ipad or even meat on a plate is a foreign concept to that child and the best they can hope for is to live another twenty...thirty years maybe.


IN comparison to a miner's life...that kid has it easy.  SA mining operations go deep...most of us would be completely unable to perform anything in those mines.  Even those that think they are in shape.  Look at the pictures of those men in the mine.  They literally have more than 4G pushing on them at a time...pilots are trained to withstand that type of environmental pressure for maybe a minute or two.


Those men sit in it for weeks.  Their lives are short.  The pay is lousy.  And memories are long.  PLus it didn't help that the company open fired on them.  Instead of doing what an sensible production company SHOULD do, which is throw a BBQ, find out the demands and let everyone settle down.  The company practically ordered the men to be cut down.  Men with families in Zulu terroritory.  The peace in SA was tentative at best and severely needed more time to fix the breach the Dutch left behind after their brutal regime for centuries.


I doubt any of you would do different if given the same options.  Central banks and ETN floggers wanted a steady flow...they just forgot the human ability of being polite...repeatly.

sebmurray's picture

You need to understand that politics in the mining industry here is everything... Mining output in SA has been dropping for years, and mining companies have only been profitable thanks to the runup in USD prices and a continually weakening ZAR. Politics has a huge role to play in this as the ANC youth league has for years now been demanding nationalisation of the banking and mining industries. This is a significant factor in the decline in output since companies are no longer investing in productive capacity locally but instead are looking abroad. Anglo and De Beers were always big players internationally, but many others have now also moved more capacity outside of SA.


It is also worth noting that the most commonly seen strikes in South Africa are government workers and mine workers. What happened at Marikana was a tragedy, but violent strikes are common in SA. Marikana was as much caused by poor police crowd-control tactics as it was caused by poor management engagement, lets try and remember that this was an illegal strike to start off with. One in which one police office had already been hacked to death with a machete and his colleage shot with his gun.


The peace in SA was tentative at best and severely needed more time to fix the breach the Dutch left behind after their brutal regime for centuries.


This is exactly the kind of drivel that alarmists and rabble rousers are trying to use to blow the situation out of proportion. Need I remind you that the British actually ruled South Africa from around 1814 onwards and South Africa gained independence less than 100 years later. I have lived in SA for 30 years and every one of those years we have heard about how the country is about to descend into a conflagration of violence and civil war and it has never happened, not even close.


There will most likely be more strikes, however COSATU which represents the bulk of trade unions in SA has not mentioned a general strike and they are not likely to either. This is only continuing because the government is distracted by jockeying for postiions at the ANC national conference in December. The miners want R12500, will probably end up settling for R9000 and then go on strike next year to protest their retrenchments when the mine downsizes, this is how the process goes...

goldfish1's picture

lets try and remember that this was an illegal strike to start off with

Legal illegal moral immoral just a matter of semantics in a world gone rogue.

The "owners" deal us a stacked deck and take out the players who call them cheats. Looks like there's a little problem at this table.

GoinFawr's picture

So what you're saying to sebmurray is:

"If you look around the table and you don't know who the sucker is..."

goldfish1's picture

No. What I'm saying is that at a crooked table, you can take out one or two. When you got thousands, ain't quite the same game.

N. B. Forrest's picture

Wow Sebmurray, someone who actually knows something about the situation rather than just spouting platitudes and talking about something they don't have a clue about. 


Thanks for the first hand insight.  100 up arrows if I could. 

CPL's picture

Platitudes are what made your mother fall for the shot in the crotch trick by your old man to make you.  Unless you are a product of rape, which is as direct and objective as it gets.  It's as direct and objective and opening fire into people striking. 

The hardliner coin counter stance is why this mess happened in the first place.  All that that needed to happen was people take a break for a couple of weeks.  Instead the point was escalated


You think platitudes and sophistry are just for politicians.  Think twice on that.  There is hardly a object in your life or mine which we keep that doesn't have a mental state attached to it.  Pretend all you wish, but I bet you keep photos of something or someone.  I suggest if you wish to carry on with a truely objective state that you burn them since platitudes and sophistry are for faggots.  When you wish to reclaim your chair at the dinner table of humanity and work with others it still will be here.


Being polite, maintaining skepticism and measuring an offer carry's more power to get things moving than bullets.  Too late now regardless of the direct needs analysis of the government shut it down, the usual graft with extra will probably need to be wheeled out by the bucket.


Btw, you wouldn't walk across the road for the raise 9000 SA FunBUX which is around 800 bucks.  They are currently getting paid half that to dig up gold in the deepest working mines in the world and die like flies at the hands of their employers.  The work is dangerous enough, but it's a sure thing that when bullets are used...well, guess what happens?  People lose the will to help out, lend a hand, do their jobs...


Eventually they kill their masters, then it's Zimbabwe time...tribal reltaliation bullshit...old grudges get settled...SA will be lost and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  Like the rest of Africa.

CPL's picture

Inch by inch, SA will become Zimbabwe.  Everyone here knows it.  Every African knows it.  You know it.  It is the last colony and it's about to get realigned and completely shift how the PAC rim operates.


If I were you, buy shares in Panama shipping/transport companies while they are cheap now.  If you are in a criminal enterprise, I would move operations from coastal areas and own the canal.

GoinFawr's picture

"Instead of doing what an sensible production company SHOULD do, which is throw a BBQ, find out the demands and let everyone settle down. The company practically ordered the men to be cut down"

If the plebs don't like being 'cut down' can't they just go work someplace else?

Reminds me of a service co. I used to contract with, every December they would load up each of their staff with five 26's of whatever xmas cheer was wanted; yeah, those guys knew that the way to an employee's heart is through his stomach.

ceedub's picture

I mean yea man fuck, why don't they just you know look on craigslist or monster for another job, seeing as there are so many jobs out there to be had.

Fucking rediculous, GO WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE while your family starves because there aren't any fucking jobs.


GoinFawr's picture

ooer, I'll be sure to use the /sarc tag next time to avoid confusion...but thanks for coming out!

PS Tylers, I think you missed a letter in the headline for this article. Now the question is did you omit an "r" or an "n"? I'm never dead certain with you lot...

StychoKiller's picture

I don't think 4G means what you think it does, perhaps you meant 4 Atmospheres.

ElvisDog's picture

I don't hate the South African gold miner unions, but they are one reason I never invest in gold mining shares. There are so many reasons why the miners can disconnect from the physical price of gold and striking miners is one of them.

sumo's picture

OT: Wasn't it SA unions who blocked a shipment of Chinese weapons to Zimbabwe, stopping Madman Mugabe from killing countless civilians? That alone wins my respect:




LULZBank's picture


stopping Madman Mugabe from killing countless civilians?

And then "international community" killing some more. But there is no Oil or anything of value their except colonial pride of some, if its of any value.


Urban Redneck's picture

I have more respect for Mugabe stopping that twat Thatcher and his buddies from knocking off Obiang and seizing EG`s oil for BP.  At least that made a difference.

LULZBank's picture

Thatcher was a "she" but knowing how she looks, easy mistake to make.

I have respect for him, just for standing up against the greedy, opressive fuckers.

Urban Redneck's picture

Mark Thatcher.  Her son, who spent at least a few hours in an African jail for his crimes. 

Jason T's picture

I would be one that is not in favor of unions that put the company as a whole at risk for their own benefit but hail Henry Ford as a hero as he at least paid his men a fair day wage.

I'm all in favor of a fair days wage for an honest days work.  Against a unfairly high wage for a days work that might not even be honest like those public servents who rake up overtime just before retirement to juice their pensions.



Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Generally I agree with you. But there are a slew of myths surrounding Henry Ford and one of them is that he paid his workers a fair wage because it was the right thing to do. There were several reasons behind his $5-a-day wage but the primary one was that his assembly line worker turnover was very high. The work was tedious, boring and often dangerous and most could earn the same wages (around $2.25 per day) elsewhere.

By essentially doubling the day's wage he solved the turnover problem and a host of others in one fell swoop. Overnight Ford went from being considered a lousy place to work to "THE" place to work.

CPL's picture

A fair wage shall set you free.

s0lspot's picture

Yeah and I wish Santa brought me a kil' of gold and flying unicorns delivered my morning smoke everyday...


"I'm all in favor of a fair days wage for an honest days work." Alleluyah! Go tell that to the top 10%, banksters, corps, politicians etc... Well I'm all in favor of world peace, consciousness and equal rights. Problem is, the 10% are not. They send the pigs to mow 'em lazy, irresponsible, communist niggers down. So you need working-class coordination to pressure them into doing it AND to protect its class interests, and in this case, members.


Thats what G8, OECD, FMI, Bilderberg & co are all about. The 10% Class defending its 90% slice of the pie.


Unions, as poorly eficient as they are in practice, are a necesity. Until the next Big Leap when people have the means to free themselves from employers.