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Do not threaten us - Sibanye hits back at Gwede Mantashe

The beef between Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Sibanye Stillwater seems to have taken a new twist. 

Sibanye hit back on Friday after Mantashe hinted in parliament on

Thursday that he could cancel the company’s mining rights in response to the two-month strike.

Spokesperson James Wellsted told Business Times on Friday that Mantashe’s comments were “perplexing”. He said the miner reserved the right to protect the interests of its stakeholders through appropriate legal channels.

“The minister’s remark is somewhat perplexing given that it was the unions who initially called the strike which has halted production at our SA gold operations and have dragged out this extended industrial action,” Wellsted said.

Sibanye would engage the department of mineral resources & energy if the prospect of cancellation of mining rights was formally raised with the company, he said.

Workers’ demands would affect the sustainability and life of the company’s SA gold operations, he said. That would result in early job losses for many of its 31,000 employees, and have significant consequences for other stakeholders, including communities and local SMEs that depend on Sibanye’s operations.

The move would also affect the national and regional economies, Wellsted added.

“The reason we are holding out is that the industry cannot continue to absorb aboveinflation costs. Is the minister suggesting that unless we accept the union’s demands [he] may take away our mining right? I’m not sure that is the intention of section 47 — or even lawful — and the implications for inward investment for South Africa are appalling,” he added.

Business Day reported that Mantashe told MPs on Thursday that through section 47 of the Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) the minister was empowered to suspend or cancel mining rights if the company in question “is no longer engaged in gold mining activities”. The act requires the holder of a mining right to actively conduct mining.

Mantashe referred to a comment by Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman that the company

had enough money to run the strike for years.


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Business Times Gwede Gwede Mantashe James Wellsted Wellsted


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