Bloomberg News

Coal of Africa Matches Record Low on Strike Action: Johannesburg

December 04, 2012

Coal of Africa Ltd. dropped to a joint record low after workers started an illegal strike at its Mooiplaats operations in South Africa, the second walkout at the plant in less than two months.

Perth, Australia-based Coal of Africa fell 7.1 percent to 1.69 rand by 5:07 p.m. in Johannesburg after earlier plummeting as much as 12 percent to 1.60 rand, matching the lowest since the shares began trading in 2006. About 697,000 shares changed hands, matching the daily average over the past three months.

“Just when the dust has settled, of course the Mooiplaats crew is on another” strike, Ryan Wibberley, an equity trader at Investec Asset Management, said by phone from Cape Town. “The uncertainty is what gives the shares a kick in the teeth.”

Management is in talks with the National Union of Mineworkers to resolve the latest issue, which arose following the suspension of four workers, the company said in a statement today. The union counts 244 of the colliery’s 368 employees as members.

The previous strike, held over demands for higher wages, was called off by NUM on Oct. 30 after about five weeks, Coal of Africa said last month. The continued strike action will have a severe impact on Mooiplaats and will probably result in job losses, the company said.

“Just watching these headlines it’s not good for anybody and has a negative impact for the foreign shareholder base,” Wibberley said.

South Africa’s worst mining strikes since the end of apartheid in 1994 started at platinum operations in August and spread to coal, gold and iron sites in subsequent months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net


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