World Bank ‘concerned’ about SA mine violence

August 21, 2012
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The IFC holds a six-year-old, 0.61 percent equity stake in Lonmin/AFP
WASHINGTON, Aug 20 – The World Bank’s private investment unit on Monday expressed concerns about the violence at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine and encouraged dialogue to resolve the problems.

The International Finance Corp said it “is deeply concerned about the violence related to Lonmin’s mining operations in South Africa.

“The issues are serious and IFC encourages all parties to resolve the dispute through constructive dialogue and negotiation,” it said in an email to AFP.

The IFC holds a six-year-old, 0.61 percent equity stake in Lonmin, where 44 people have been killed in a wildcat strike.

The world’s third-largest platinum producer has ordered striking miners to return to work. It said about 27 percent of the mine’s 28,000 employees came to work Monday, and warned it could fire anyone who does not show up on Tuesday.

The IFC’s role at the mine has been small.

It said that in 2006, it launched a four-year program aimed at spreading the economic benefits of Lonmin’s operations, promoting “increased job opportunities for women, HIV/AIDs awareness training, and support to small businesses.”

President Jacob Zuma declared a week of national mourning beginning Monday over the deaths, even as unions and the mine owners remained split over the problems of wages and conditions that underpinned the violence.

Thousands of workers gathered in a field near the mine, without the machetes and other weapons that had marked earlier gatherings.

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