“They are demanding additional danger pay for working underground,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said, adding the nearly 100 striking workers had been on strike since last week.
Palabora Mining, a member of the Rio Tinto Group , said underground operations had been suspended after the workers started their sit-in on Wednesday.
“This action by the crews is a significant concern and is in contravention of their obligations to the mine’s policies,” the company said in a statement.
Palabora, South Africa‘s only producer of refined copper, produces about 80 000 tonnes of refined copper a year.
As a fresh wave of illegal strikes in South Africa gained momentum, protests at Exxaro’s Grootgeluk coal mine inLimpopo province turned violent on Monday with police firing rubber bullets at a group of 2 000 strikers.
Diversified mining group Exxaro has reported wildcat strikes at five of its coal mines, unnerving investors worried about a repeat of deadly protests that shook Africa‘s biggest economy last year.