Jobs of 37 000 Marikana workers hang in the balance


In less than 24 hours, the shareholders of Lonmin PLC will take a vote that will decide the fate of the world’s third largest platinum producer. They’ll be offered a 94 per cent discount as part of a $400 million rebuilding plan for Lonmin.

As the shareholders of Lonmin PLC vote on the future of the company at its London headquarters, thousands of miles away, the decision will be felt the most by the miners in Rustenburg, in North West South Africa.

“This situation is deeply saddening but there’s nothing we can do because Lonmin is robbing us. Even the way they’re closing the mine is unlawful because we still have problems. We have responsibilities and we don’t know what to do. It’s painful,” says a rattled miner.


Around 37 000 workers could lose their jobs in Marikana, should the shareholders reject the $400 million stock sale that Lonmin desperately needs.

“It’s going to affect us a lot because Lonmin supports many communities and school kids. In the villages people have depended on Lonmin in many ways. We, as men, support our wives. If we lose our jobs, we won’t be able to do that,” adds another miner.

The majority of the miners carried on with their daily routine, largely unaware of the possible life changing meeting that lies ahead.

Lonmin’s share price plummeted from $8 in December 2010, to just 16 cents. Together with the 58 per cent fall in the platinum price since 2012, this will worry some of Lonmin shareholders.

Lonmin has, however, been given a lifeline earlier this week by one of its biggest shareholders, Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which own just over 7 per cent of Lonmin shares. PIC pledged to their willingness to take up as much as 25 per cent of Lonmin, giving them a 32 per cent stake.