World Bulletin / News Desk
Fewer than 7 percent of Lonmin's 28,000-strong South African workforce reported for duty on Thursday, as the platinum producer held talks with warring unions aimed at cooling tensions and bringing people back to work.
The world's third-largest platinum producer has had its mining operations shut for almost three weeks because of a violent turf war between the established National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) that has killed 44 people this month.
That total includes 34 striking workers killed at once in a hail of police bullets, stiffening the resolve of surviving comrades to hold out until their demands are met.
"We have a 6.6 percent average attendance across all shafts this morning," Lonmin said in a statement on Thursday.
The talks to end the impasse in the platinum mining city of Rustenburg northwest of Johannesburg resumed on Thursday after dragging into the night on Wednesday.
Gideon du Plessis, deputy secretary general of trade union Solidarity, said discussions are to secure "a return to work agreement - with the aim of getting workers back to work on Monday after most funerals have been concluded."
He said the grievances raised by the striking workers would then be dealt with and finally, a "peace accord" would be reached.
Solidarity represents skilled workers and its members have not been on strike but all unions are taking place in the talks.
The 3,000 strikers who have brought things to a standstill are mostly rock driller operators demanding a monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,500), which would be a hike of over 25 percent of what the company says it currently pays, excluding bonuses.
In Australia, South Africa's mines minister Susan Shabangu said on the sidelines of a mining conference in Perth that the violence was undermining investor confidence in Africa's largest economy, which sits on 80 percent of known platinum reserves.
"It is a cause for concern. The tragedy does impact on any potential investments. Any investor would like to invest in a stable environment, we've got to recognize that," she said.
Lonmin accounts for 12 percent of the global output of platinum, used in car catalytic converters and jewelry.
Lonmin has said it may issue new shares to shore up a balance sheet hit by lost output and revenue, and the prospect of further losses as the entire platinum sector struggles with soaring power and labor costs and poor demand.
($1 = 8.4218 South African rand)
Radical cleansing will start a new era in Turkey, says the head of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA)
EU Commissioner for Jobs, Growth and Investment and Competitiveness Jryki Katainen told reporters "we should forget this phrase" when asked if that meant granting market economy status to China.
Militancy has reduced revenue from oil industry by half, senior official says
The grant was signed Monday in Nairobi to mitigate impact of forced displacements on refugee hosting communities in East Africa
The EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom made the comment while speaking to Chinese students in Beijing ahead of a China-EU summit.
Trade Ministers Meeting in Shanghai concludes with pledge to push efforts toward trade liberalization and facilitation
Brexit raises uncertainty for consumer, investor confidence, ratings agency says
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney eases lending rules after vote for Brexit
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, or BMPS, is among the banks at the forefront of those concerns with gross bad loans amounting to 46.9 billion euros ($52 billion).
Fund to be used in support of education, health, municipal, socio-economic support for refugees in Turkey
Turkish Statistical Institute says energy prices drive fall in imports
Given all the uncertainty, investors were pricing in a chance of a rate cut with some analysts expecting the Bank of England to consider quantitative easing to cushion the economy
The Egyptian stock index was down 5.8 percent in early afternoon.
The pound sterling sees its lowest level against the the US dollar in over 30 years