Worlds fourth largest producer of gold bullion fires 8,500 workers

Added by on October 23, 2012

Gold Fields, operating in South Africa and the worlds fourth largest producer of gold bullion, announced on Tuesday that it had terminated the employment of its 8,500 workers after on-going negotiations failed.

The company issued an ultimatum to its 23,500 workers to end a strike and return to work on October 18. 11,000 miners returned to work, yet did not stay for their full shift. The company today fired 8,500 workers after they failed to show up to work five days after the initial ultimatum.

A spokesperson for Gold Fields said the company needs to resume operations since an on-going labor dispute has cost the company over US$170m to date.

“It is a last resort for us. If the miners had failed to show up for work during the next several weeks we would have had to shut down our operations,” added the spokesperson.

“We have dismissed the miners, but hopefully they will use the appeal process to come back to work.”

The current labor dispute is the worst South Africa has seen in decades with over 80,000 miners on strike since August, negatively impacting the country’s mining industry.

Gold Fields has stated it has started to hire new staff allowing the company to “resume production, and we need workers who are willing to do that.”

Gold Fields is one of the world’s largest producers of gold with an annualized production of 3.5 million gold-equivalent ounces from eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. Gold Fields was trading at US$11.93, down 2.85%, on the NYSE in late afternoon trading.