It used to be that a prolonged strike at a major SA gold miner was a very big deal. One that stretched past 12 weeks would, in the past, have been nail-biting stuff. Not so for the strike that started on November 21 at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines, which the company has so far weathered fairly well. Sibanye’s planning for the labour action means its 2018 gold production is expected to be 34,600kg — only slightly below the lower end of its guidance of 35,000kg. The mines saved on labour costs due to the no-work, no-pay principle. More importantly, revenues at Sibanye’s platinum group metals (PGMs) operations thrived thanks to higher prices. Lenders too have agreed to retain the upper limit of the company’s revolving credit facilities until the end of the year on the same terms as before. CEO Neal Froneman calls this "a vote of confidence in the fundamental outlook for the group", which "provides sufficient financial flexibility".

Sibanye’s ability to weather the gold strike ...

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