VENTURES AFRICA – As employee unrest continue to mar the South Africa mining industry, CEO of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd South Africa and Vice president of South Africa’s Chamber of Mines, Mark Cutifani, predicts that there would be a way out to South Africa mine disturbances in the next couple of months.
In an interview at the Denver Gold Forum, Cutifani said although a resolution is hard to see at the moment, “we will find a solution in the next month or two; we’ll come together and redefine a pathway that seeks to answer the right issues.”
“We’ve all got to work harder on the social issues; connecting and communicating better with the workforce is important,” Cutifani said. “The union has to also have a look in the mirror and think about its processes to improve the way it’s connecting.”
South Africa mining industry has in recent time faced severe civil disturbances among its workers. The most recent and deadliest mine violence since the end of apartheid being the Lonmin Plc (LMI) workers unrest that left about 44 people dead.
South Africa mine workers are demanding increasing in wages which accounts for about 10 percent of global platinum production.
As mediators yesterday failed to persuade Lonmin Plc (LMI) workers to return to their jobs with the strike at Marikana mine entering its second month; employees of Gold Fields Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. have also demanded higher pay in South Africa.
In a related development, Cutifani spoke with CNBC’s Power Lunch on gold production outlook. “Production is tough to improve upon,” he said.
While noting that industry production has been flat for seven or eight years, Cutifani said, “The supply situation has been tough as it’s difficult to get access to areas that have gold.”
He added that “Although gold prices keep climbing, it is extremely difficult for the gold mining industry to increase supply.” “There’s cost creep across the industry,” Cutifani concluded.
AngloGold Ashanti has done better than the rest of the industry in improving returns. “We’ve been successful in exploration we’ve restructured our businesses, we’ve taken a more a manufacturing approach to the way we run our operation,” he said. “We’ve improved cash flow by a $1 billion through those improvements.”
AngloGold Ashanti, the third-biggest producer of the metal, has six deep-level mines and employed 32,082 people in South Africa last year.