Lonmin welcomes inquiry into its role in mine shootings

South African president Jacob Zuma announces inquiry which left 44 dead at Lonmin mine

Mining firm Lonmin has said it welcomes an inquiry into the deaths of 44 people at its Marikana mines following a series of strikes in which investigators will see if the company is responsible for any of the deaths.

The announcement will not hit shares until tomorrow, as it was made after end of trading.

Shares closed up 27p at 639.9p.

South African president Jacob Zuma said he will appoint Commissioners to investigate what happened last week.

The inquiry will look at Lonmin’s conduct, in particular:

• whether it exercised its best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen between Lonmin and its labour force on the one hand and generally among its labour force on the other;

• whether it responded appropriately to the threat and outbreak of violence which occurred at its premises;

• whether the company, by act or omission, created an environment which was conducive to the creation of tension, labour unrest, disunity among its employees or other harmful conduct;

• whether it employed sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees and property and the prevention of the outbreak of violence between any parties

The Commission will also examine Lonmin policies generally, including the procedure, practices and conduct relating to its employees and organised labour.

It will also investigate whether by act or omission, the company directly or indirectly caused loss of life or damage to persons or property.

Work has resumed on the mines near Johannesburg after six days inactive, with reports of around 30% of workers returning.

Lonmin has been struggling to maintain a clear position throughout the crisis, changing its mind on an almost daily basis.

After 34 workers were shot dead by police, the company said illegal striking rock drill operators must return to work the following day.

However, it changed its position a day later, giving an indefinite period for return so both sides could work together on a solution.

The company also initially said it would not need a rights issue despite admitting it would miss targets, but 48 hours later it changed its mind.

Chief executive Ian Farmer is in hospital with a serious illness, which might go some way to explaining the disorganisation.

In a short statement it said:

Lonmin welcomes the terms of reference announced by President Jacob Zuma for the Judicial
Commission of Inquiry on the Marikana tragedy, and will co-operate fully with the commission.

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