Man, if anyone was actually working at Gold mines these days, it would have been worth a punt. These companies have all the potential to print money right now, and all is wasted on labour disputes. Gold fields is winding up in a nice triangle waiting to break, but the way things are going now, who knows where it will end up.
Kwagga....If you have a longer term view on SA gold and platinum mines, a new opportunity is presenting itself right now...I am retired from the industry, but I tell you that there are ways to mine our SA mines, using the Aussie/Brazil model..Skilled employees and machines...You can divide labour numbers by at least four of what they are now.... There is however a social and political problem here though...i.e. The other 3 quarters of current mining labour will not be employed. Also skilled guys do not normally go on unprotected strikes.
I see that the Chamber of Mines negotiations for strikes at ANG GFI and HAR have broken down...Do not watch this space, just put your access bond money into shorting the Rand, and/or going long on GLD and the mining stocks.
Friend of mine who works at Lonmin told me 10 years ago there is mining machinery available that could put most of their workers out of work if the company opted to do so. Wonder how long before they saying "cut your nose to spite your face" rings true.
The gold and platinum industry has a bit of a problem in RSA. The rich ore is shallow, deep and uneven. Now, the other problem is what kind of machinery do you take underground which will be compatible with those conditions and still be compliant for the health and safety of persons. Pneumatic equipment are bigger in size, Hydraulic equipment are sluggish but yet stronger. Now there are other lot more other conditions which must be taken into consideration as well which an ordinary machine cannot do such as the detection of rockfall, identification of the rich ore, etc. Never mind the capital expenditure required just to have a mechanised mining like the coal boys have. The list goes on and it will take a while for a full fledge conversion