Sibanye Gold

A victory for the upstart labour union in South Africa, Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union).

Sibanye Gold has recognised it as the main union representing the miner’s workers – the first company to do so. But what are the implications for ongoing pay talks? Amcu has been pushing hard not only for recognition but also for big pay rises. 

Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s deputy president, on Friday unveiled a draft agreement for sustainable mining – a government attempt to bring some stability to the sector. It’s about time. In recent weeks, the unions have been making a lot of noise about strikes.

But in the past few days it has been the turn of the mining companies to put their point across, and threaten job cuts. 

Sibanye Gold, the new company split out of Gold Fields, started trading on Monday with the market giving the new entity that contains the troubled South African mines of KDC and Beatrix a lowish valuation. Holders of Gold Fields stock were given one share in Sibanye for each of their Gold Fields shares.

Sibanye shares closed at R13.70, having traded between R13 and R14.78 during the day. Analysts had guessed at prices anywhere between R8 and R53. Gold Fields, meanwhile, closed R14 lower at R91.81, a fall of 13.4 per cent from Friday’s close. Job done? 

There had been talk of mining splits in South Africa and now it’s happened – Gold Fields, the world’s 4th largest miner, said on Thursday it would spin off two of its more troubled mines into a new company, Sibanye Gold, created out of an existing subsidiary.

The move was cheered by investors, who promptly pushed Gold Fields shares up nearly 7 per cent on the day.