A sit-in at Keaton Energy’s Vaalkrantz underground coal mine in South Africa ended peacefully on 4 March, according to a company press release. The sit-in began on 29 February and involved employees of Nasonti Mining, a contractor at Vaalkrantz.
Nasonti had launched a retrenchment process in early February, citing financial pressure and halting all operations at Vaalkrantz. It also applied for voluntary liquidation.
Following this, on 29 February a number of its employees entered the Vaalkrantz mine, demanding payment of their outstanding salaries and retrenchment packages from Nasonti. After initial attempts to resolve the situation by mine management were not successful, Keaton alerted the Department of Mineral Resources and mine unions, requesting their intervention.
An eviction order was granted by the Labour Court on 1 March and served to the protesters on 2 March. On 4 March, following the presentation of a three-part resolution plan by mine management, the Nasonti employees agreed to exit the mine.
“No harm came to any person during the negotiation process,” Keaton said in its statement. “Production was largely unaffected given that Nasonti had halted operations and underground mining was temporarily on stop.”
The company “continued to engage peacefully with all stakeholders in an attempt to facilitate resolution in good faith and with the best interested of all in mind,” it concluded.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.