Iluka strike action continues at Sierra Rutile

Image: Sierra Rutile

Iluka Resources has faced further strike action by its workforce at the Sierra Rutile operations and drawn the ultimate intervention of the President of Sierra Leone.

Last month, Iluka’s subsidiary Sierra Rutile put its operations at a temporary suspension following an “unlawful” strike action by the workforce. Iluka did not disclose the reason behind the strike actions.

The company has engaged Sierra Rutile, the United Mineworkers’ Union and the Government of Sierra Leone, including the President, Vice President, Chief Minister and other senior ministers to resolve the dispute.

The government has advised all parties to engage in positive consultation and dialogue, and for the companies to follow the rules and procedures set out in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The CBA lists the rights and responsibilities of mining companies and employees below supervisory level.

Iluka has commenced the process of restarting operations at Sierra Rutile and anticipates mining operations to resume in the next few days.

The company said in an ASX statement, “The impact on Iluka’s rutile production and sales commitments will be dependent on the time required to return to full operations.”

Iluka expects rutile operations to hit the low end of its guidance range of 125,000–130,000 tonnes in the 2018 financial year. Its production guidance has been revised from the initial target of around 160,000 tonnes following workers’ strike last month.

Sierra Rutile operations produce rutile, ilmenite and zircon from mineral sands and is responsible for one of the world’s largest rutile deposits.