South African miners stage sit-in at AngloGold Ashanti

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Trouble flared in South Africa’s mining belt as AngloGold Ashanti (Berlin: AOD1.BE - news) saw hundreds of workers stage underground sit-ins and Xstrata (Other OTC: XSRAF.PK - news) dismssed striking workers.

Some 300 workers joined protests over bonus payments at its Mponeng and TauTona mines, west of Johannesburg, the gold miner said.

Separately, Xstrata , the FTSE 100 (FTSE Index: EO100.FGI - news) miner, sacked 400 workers involved in a strike that has halted production at its Kroondal chrome mine. That represents the bulk of the pit’s 619 workers.

Over the past three months, more than 80,000 of South Africa’s miners are thought to have downed tools over pay and labour conditions. Threats of dismissal and new pay deals have ended most of the strikes in the past fortnight, but tensions remain.

The miners at AngloGold wanted a 1,500 South African rand (£108) payment agreed as part of a deal to end weeks of strikes. However, a company spokesman said the bonus would be paid later, based on safety and attendance.

After talks with management, the workers eventually “returned safely to surface”, the company said. In total, two days of normal work activity were lost at Mponeng, and one at TauTona.