Dear Wealth Daily reader:
Over 100,000 South African gold miners stayed home Yesterday to protest against the region’s mining industry. This is the country’s first industry-wide strike in 18 years.
Affiliates of the National Union of Mineworkers are demanding higher pay and better living conditions in the industry.
Unions insist that companies raise worker pay between 10% and 12%. Regional miners often work in 104°F heat at almost 2 miles below ground. And the union says they deserve a bigger share of the returns.
South Africa is the world’s biggest gold bullion producer. The industry accounts for around 15% of total global output, and the mining sector contributes about 8% to the nation’s gross domestic product.
"I don’t think the industry can afford a strike, but I am absolutely convinced the industry cannot afford the wage increases."
–Bernard Swanepoel, chief executive of Harmony Gold.
This strike will account for the loss of around 28,000 ounces of gold production per day. That’s about $12 million.
The two main unions called the strike after rejecting an offer made by the Chamber of Mines of a 4.5% to 5% wage rise plus bonus payments.
AngloGold and South Deep offered pay increases between 5.25% and 6.5% in last-minute talks but union officials were not satisfied.
A major part of the union’s unhappiness with the big mining firms is problems with miners living conditions
Under apartheid laws miners are forced to live in barracks, leaving their families in townships far away.
About three out of four of South Africa’s 200,000 miners still live in hostels. AngloGold Ashanti says there is an average of six men per room in its hostels. It seems unimaginable to live in such close quarters. But living conditions have improved from 10 years ago when the average was 12 men per room.
The unions now want a "living-out allowance" for finding accommodations for miners family to be doubled, whereas the mining firms are offering only a 10% rise.
Unions claim that the crowded hostels are a breeding ground for tuberculosis and other such sicknesses and demand improvements immediately.
But on the home front, there is some good news from Lincoln Gold.
The company has found a considerable mercury soil gas anomaly on its JDS gold property.
Check out this press release that outlines the news.
Lincoln Gold Identifies Mercury Soil Gas Anomaly on its JDS Property within the Cortez Trend, Nevada
Tuesday August 9, 6:00 am ET
CARSON CITY, Nev.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 9, 2005–LINCOLN GOLD CORP.(OTCBB:LGCP – News) is pleased to announce that it has identified a significant mercury soil gas anomaly on its JDS gold property located within the Cortez Trend, Nevada. Mercury soil gas is known to accumulate over some concealed Carlin-type gold deposits. The Company’s survey consisted of 240 samples taken on eight lines with 50-meter sample stations. Lincoln Gold’s 100% owned JDS property is located approximately 18 miles southeast of the Cortez Hills and Cortez Pediment gold discoveries (9 MM ounces gold) which are Carlin-type deposits and are owned by Placer Dome/Kennecott.
The JDS property, which adjoins Placer Dome’s claims that are located to the west and north, consist of 77 claims of pediment gravels covering "lower plate" carbonate rocks that are favorable hosts for Carlin-type gold deposits. Coincident with the mercury soil gas anomaly are a "gravity high" and an aeromagnetic anomaly. The "gravity high" indicates shallow bedrock and the aeromagnetic data suggest intrusive rocks associated with the "lower plate" carbonate rocks. Collectively, these data could indicate a blind Carlin-type gold target on the JDS property, similar to those found in the Cortez area.
Lincoln Gold intends to drill test the target or joint venture the property to a suitable operator who is active within the Cortez Trend.
The company’s share price was up just over a penny today.