Johannesburg - Workers have gone on strike at Anglo American's Kleinkopje coal mine in South Africa as labour unrest in the sector spreads, the company said on Tuesday.
The walkout at Anglo follows illegal strikes at five mines owned by diversified miner Exxaro, further unnerving investors worried about a repeat of protests which shook Africa's biggest economy last year.
“Anglo American Thermal Coal can confirm that there has been an illegal work stoppage at Kleinkopje colliery since this morning,” spokesperson Moeketsi Mofokeng said in an emailed response to questions.
The company was in talks with officials from the National Union of Mineworkers to resolve the dispute, he said.
Often-violent labour unrest shut parts of South Africa's mining industry for months last year, and investors are anxious about a renewal of the disturbances which killed over 50 people and pushed metal prices higher.
A prolonged shutdown at Anglo's and Exxaro's mines could also potentially affect South Africa's already strained electricity output. The two are the top suppliers of coal to state-owned power utility Eskom.
Some 85 percent of the electricity powering South Africa is generated from coal.
Eskom is walking a tightrope to keep power flowing to factories, mines and smelters that had to shut for several days five years ago when the national grid nearly collapsed, costing South Africa's economy billions of dollars in lost output. - Reuters