Johannesburg - Strikes at Exxaro Resources, South Africa’s second-biggest coal producer, spread to a sixth mine, according to union officials.
Output at Tshikondeni, a coal operation in the northernmost province of Limpopo, stopped yesterday, National Union of Mineworkers branch secretary Mxolisi Hoboyi said by phone today.
The mine supplies hard coking coal to ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd.’s Vanderbijlpark plant, the continent’s biggest steelmaking facility.
“The strike is continuing as per yesterday’s situation at Matla, Arnot, Grootegeluk, Leeuwpan and Inyanda,” Exxaro said in a statement. “There is ongoing engagement with the union.”
Exxaro, which has 11 production sites, supplies all the power-station coal it mines to electricity utility Eskom, the Pretoria-based company said on its website.
The strikes at Arnot and Matla, which started on March 5, related to the non-payment of bonuses, Exxaro said in a statement yesterday. Eskom relies on coal for 80 percent of power generation.
The Arnot operation supplies the fuel to an Eskom power station with installed capacity of 2,100 megawatts.
Protesters were preventing trucks loaded with coal at Arnot, near Middelburg in the Mpumalanga province, from delivering the fuel to the electricity plant and were burning tires, Hoboyi said.
Solidarity, another trade union with workers at Exxaro, has no mandate from its members to join in the strikes, Louis Pretorius, the national organiser for mining at the union, said by e-mail today.
“We did however advise our members not to do any striking colleagues’ work, as we are cognisant of the reasons for the strikes,” he said. “What is disconcerting is that the coal supply to Eskom power stations might be interrupted if the strikes continue.”
Exxaro fell as much as 3 percent, the most on an intraday basis since February 21, and was 2.1 percent lower at 166.37 rand by 1:33 p.m. in Johannesburg.
About 719,700 shares, or 79 percent of the daily average over the past three months, changed hands. - Bloomberg News