Sibanye Gold's Cooke mine shuts operations

File: The Cooke mine employs close to 4,000 underground miners. Photo: Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko / File Photo

JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye Gold's Cooke mine south-west of Johannesburg closed operations until at least Thursday, while workers who fired for taking part in a wildcat strike appealed their dismissals.

Sibanye was losing 15kg of gold production there per day.

READ: Sibanye Gold fires 1,500 mineworkers over illegal strike

Spokesman James Wellsted said on Monday that the company was concerned about the safety of its employees, after it received reports that miners who did not support the strike had been threatened with violence

"We want to make sure the environment is safe for our employees," he said.

Sibanye said last week it had fired 1,500 workers at the mine.

READ: Sibanye Gold plans layoff of platinum miners

Workers at the mine downed tools almost two weeks ago, angered by a company drive to root out illegal miners, which included the arrest of employees for collusion.

Illegal gold mining had been plaguing South Africa for decades, with gold pilfered from both disused and operating mines.

Sibanye vowed it will clear all illegal miners -- also known as 'Zama Zamas' -- from its shafts by January 2018.

The Cooke mine employs close to 4,000 underground miners and Sibanye said the sacked workers could appeal their dismissals.


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