News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: A win and a loss on the South African miner strike front; a crackdown on the coal smugglers; and a Polish coal play.

Noel Dyson

Wins and losses in South Africa

Festering resentment over poor pay in the mining sector has boiled over with more than 30,000 National Union of Mineworkers laying down tools last night.

According to The Citizen, acting NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration issued a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute earlier in the week.

“The conciliation came to an abrupt end this week when the parties could not reach an agreement of the 1000 rand for the lowest category and 14% for artisans, miners and officials demanded by the NUM,” the site quotes him saying.

In return employers had been offering 8.5%.

However, the Financial Times reports that the NUM signed wages deals with AngloGold Ashanti and Harmony Gold that has given the industry a boost.

The FT NUM members accepted a deal that includes salary hikes ranging from 9% to 13% annually for miner’s basic wages for the next three years.

Cracking down on the coal smugglers

With what India’s The Pioneer has called the rampant smuggling of coal from the Ib Valley Coalfield by organised mafias, the Jharsuguda police have launched a drive to “nab the culprits”

The police conducted raids on Thursday and arrested two people: Prasad Sarda, alias Munna of Jharsuguda and Khirmohan Mishra, aka, Litti, of Brajrajnagar for their involvement in the illegal transportation of coal.

The paper reports police suspected the pair had smuggled 20 to 30 truckloads of coal daily to local industry from five open cut mines in the Ib Valley Coalfields area for the past decade.

It also reports that police had earlier caught “two coal mafias” Manbodh Bhainsal and Gopal Hota red-handed” transporting coal to some industrial houses in the vicinity.

A polish coal play

The new chief executive of Polish utility Tauron is ready to restart talks to take over an ailing local mine, Reuters reports.

He may want to proceed carefully because it appears the inability of Tauron’s management team to conclude the deal earlier led to them being replaced last week.

The Polish government hopes Tauron and other state-run utilities that produce power mostly from coal will help save the country’s mining sector, which has been hammered by low coal prices.