Lonmin to meet strikers in bid to reopen Marikana mine as losses mount
Talks to try to end a crippling three-week strike which has cost 44 lives at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in South Africa are due to resume today.
The talks, which were suspended on Thursday for the funerals of at least 30 of the workers who were shot by police, are due to restart this afternoon.
It is not clear who will turn up for the talks, with the militant AMCU union claiming it has been sidelined and that its representatives will only attend if they are invited.
Lonmin, the world's third largest platinum producer, has lost 2,500 ounces of production each day of the strike. That has placed increasing pressure on its overstretched balance sheet with suggestions that it will need a £1bn rights issue to reduce its debts.
There are also signs that strikes are spreading, with the gold miner Gold Field's reporting that 12,000 workers had stopped work at the east section of its Koof-Driefontein operation.
Lonmin's 28,000 workforce at Marikana stayed away in droves last Friday, with just 5.7 per cent of the miners reporting for work – the lowest level since the dispute began on 10 August – and the company was forced to close the mine.
Lonmin shares have fallen more than 200p, or more than 25 per cent, to 573p since the strike first came to public notice. The price of platinum, which is used in vehicle catalytic converters and for jewellery, has risen by 9.5 per cent to $1,527.63 an ounce over the same period.
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