South African platinum miner Lonmin responded to a damning investigative report into the death of striking workers at its Marikana mine in 2012 by saying it has “lessons to learn.”
34 striking miners were gunned down by police in a single incident during the unplanned strikes in August 2012. 44 people died during the period covered by the inquiry.
The 640-page report, released yesterday, blames police, unions and Lonmin for failing to control the situation in the run up to what has since become known as the “Marikana massacre.” The incident was the worst police killing in South Africa since the end of apartheid.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced the publication of the report yesterday, calling the incident a “horrendous tragedy” during a speech on TV.
The President highlighted criticism of Lonmin in the report, saying: “[Lonmin] did not respond appropriately to the threat of and outbreak of violence. Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees.
“Lonmin also insisted that its workers who were not striking should come to work despite the fact that it knew that it was not in a position to protect them from attacks by strikers.”
The report into the deaths took 3-years and was carried out by retired judge Ian Farlam. In it Farlam said that Lonmin “did not use its best endeavours” to resolve disputes.
Workers living conditions and social provisions were also criticised.
Miners held unplanned strikes at the Marikana mine in August, 2012, calling for workers’ pay to rise to 12,500 rand a month (£654, $US1030), an increase of around 300%.
Lonmin said in a statement today: “It is clear from the summary provided that everyone involved in the tragic events of 2012 has lessons to learn. Lonmin is no exception and we will be studying Judge Farlam’s findings in detail before responding to them.”
Lonmin’s CEO Ben Magara said:
As a company we have worked hard over the past two-and-a-half year years to build a more open, transparent and mutually trustworthy environment, and in the process make Lonmin a safer, better place to work. We have placed particular emphasis on living conditions and employee indebtedness, two key issues that we believe will make a profound impact on the well being of our employees.
I have been consistently clear that this must be our priority. Much work has been done in this regard but we still have a long way to go, as does our industry and the country.
Shares in Lonmin, which is listed in London and part of the FTSE 250 index, are down by over 2% this morning, and over a huge 92% since 2010.