NW pensions in SA mine hit by unrest
LONDONDERRY public sector pensions are part vested in a South African platinum mine where 13 mine workers were injured last week when security guards fired rubber bullets at them, the Sentinel can reveal.
The pensions contributions of many local council workers, alongside staff at Ilex, WELB, NIHE, Magee, City of Derry Airport, NWRC, Ulsterbus and some local schools have been partly invested in multi-national miner Anglo American, the owner of the Rustenburg mine.
The Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) pension fund, which invests on behalf of local workers has almost 50k shares worth over £1m in the company.
Last week two rival mining unions clashed at the Anglo American Platinum mine in Rustenburg.
Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said last Monday (February 18): “Mine security intervened and fired rubber bullets, and in the process a total of 13 mine workers, including four security guards [were injured].”
Last Wednesday (February 20) Anglo American released a statement in relation to the incident.
The company said Anglo American Platinum Limited confirmed that its Rustenburg, Union and Amandelbult mining operations had resumed after employees returned to work on Wednesday (February 20).
“Employees at these mining operations embarked on an illegal work stoppage following an incident at Siphumelele Mine in Rustenburg on February 18, 2013 in which 15 employees sustained injuries. All 15 injured employees have received swift medical attention,” the company stated.
“Anglo American Platinum is engaged in constructive discussions with the Department of Mineral Resources, the Chamber of Mines and organised labour in order to ensure a safe environment for employees across the platinum industry.”
The company said it lost 3,886 ounces of platinum production as a result of the stoppage.
NILGOSC’s equity holdings at March 31, 2012, showed it held 49,959 units of Anglo American stock worth £1,166,292.86.
In an entirely separate incident in Rustenburg last August police shot dead 34 miners during strikes.
That incident was reported as the worst massacre since 1994 when African National Congress (ANC) security guards gunned down rivals from the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) as they marched on ANC headquarters in Johannesburg. IFP had been protesting the terms of South Africa’s first free elections after apartheid.
Previously, the Sentinel has reported on NILGOSC’s varied pension portfolio, which has included investment in nuclear weapons, tobacco, alcohol, bookies, oil and US arms firms including Raytheon.
Raytheon Systems Limited (RSL) left Londonderry in 2010 after a series of high profile protests against their presence in the city but the pension contributions of public sector workers are still invested in the firm’s parent company, Raytheon.
Equally, investments in booze and tobacco companies seem to fly in the face of stated Derry City Council policy.
The local authority has explicitly pledged to “create a climate conducive to socially responsible investment,” and is committed towards the creation of a tobacco-free society and is a steadfast promoter of responsible drinking.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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