Johannesburg - Impala Platinum, the second-largest producer of the metal, expects workers who walked out last week at its Marula mine to report for duty tomorrow.

“We are reasonably confident that they will return,” Johan Theron, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Impala, said by phone. About 2,000 walked out on July 4.

The company met with them today to discuss complaints that ranged from union representation to wages, Theron said.

The strike followed a five-month stoppage by at least 70,000 employees at other mines owned by Impala and shafts operated by Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin.

The walkout, which paralysed most production sites in the country that is the world’s biggest supplier of mined platinum, ended June 24 when the companies signed a wage agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or Amcu.

“They agreed in principle to raise the issues through formal channels,” Theron said of the group at Marula.

“There were a whole bunch of things that they’re not happy with.”

The National Union of Mineworkers is the majority union at Marula, which produced 39,200 ounces of platinum, or 6 percent of Impala’s total mined output during the six months ended December 31.

Impala also runs the world’s largest platinum mine near Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.

Employees can be fired under South African law for joining strikes that start before dispute processes have been exhausted. - Bloomberg News