Extreme Capitalist mining houses in South Africa—mainly represented by companies such as Anglo American plc, but including a number of wholly stock-market owned enterprises, have traditionally been the biggest supporters of leftist causes in that country—but research by the New Observer has shown their utter hypocrisy as they are also the worst exploiters of black labor.
In the controlled media, black poverty and squatter camps in South Africa are still often blamed on the “legacy of Apartheid”—but a review of the wage levels paid by these super-rich leftist-supporting mining houses shows that their slave labor wages are a major, if not the most important, contributing factor.
First, a few statistics about the South African mining industry:
1. In 2000, mineral commodities accounted for about 47 percent of the total value of South African exports.
2. South Africa produces about 17 percent of the global new mined gold production.
3. By 2001, mining in South Africa had produced a total of 51 percent of global platinum group metals ever mined.
4. Today, South Africa is the world’s largest producer of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium, and vermiculite.
5. South Africa is the world’s second largest producer of ilmenite, palladium, rutile, and zirconium.
6. As of 2007, the South African mining industry directly employed some 493,000 workers.
7. The mining industry represents 18 percent of South Africa’s $588 billion USD Gross Domestic Product.
The three largest gold mining companies in South Africa are Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Gold Fields, and Harmony Gold, in that order.
Anglo-Gold Ashanti is owned by the Oppenheimer-founded Anglo American Corporation, or AAC, (which quickly moved its head office from Johannesburg to London after “Apartheid” ended, even though the AAC was the single largest funder of the anti-Apartheid movement inside the country, and also owned all the major leftist media which continually agitated against Apartheid and white rule).
In 2010, Anglo-Gold Ashanti’s revenue stood at US $5.334 billion. Its total assets stood at US $9.532 billion, and total equity at US $3.989 billion.
Goldfields is listed on both the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In 2010, its revenue was South African Rand (ZAR) R31.56 billion.
Harmony Gold is not only the third largest gold mining company in South Africa, but is also the 12th largest in the world and the 5th largest gold producer in the world—an indication of the size of the other two top companies. Its 2012 revenue was set at US $1.18 billion.
It is little known that, in terms of sheer weight amount shipped, South Africa’s largest mineral export is coal, mainly to the Far East. The coal industry in South Africa is mainly owned by Anglo American plc, and four other companies: BHP Billiton’s Ingwe Collieries, Sasol Mining, Glencore Xstrata, and Exxaro.
Anglo-American plc was started, and until recently, majority owned by the Oppenheimer family. Harry Oppenheimer, its most prominent member, almost single-handedly financed and created the Progressive Party (later called the Progressive Federal Party, and now known as the Democratic Alliance), which throughout the 1960s had arch-leftist Jewess Helen Suzman as its sole representative in the white South African Parliament, but which by 1977 had won 17 seats.
Oppenheimer also owned the Rand Daily Mail, regarded as the voice of South African liberalism.
Anglo American plc (the same one which owns Anglo-Gold Ashanti) is also the world’s largest producer of platinum, with around 40 percent of world output, and is a major producer of copper, nickel, iron ore and metallurgical and thermal coal. Anglo American plc’s 2013 revenue from its worldwide operations stood at US $29.342 billion.
BHP Billiton is an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals, and petroleum company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. It is the world’s largest mining company measured by 2013 revenues. As of February 2011, BHP Billiton was also the world’s third-largest company measured by market capitalization. BHP Billoton’s global revenue in 2013 was set at US $65.968 billion.
Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Its 2013 revenue was set at US $21.78 billion.
Glencore plc is an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, with its registered office in Saint Helier, Jersey. Its 2013 revenue was set at US $232.694 billion.
Exxaro Resources is a stock exchange listed coal and heavy minerals mining company, whose revenue in 2008 was “only” R13.8 billion.
The primary South African sources of diamonds, including seven large diamond mines around the country, are controlled by the De Beers Consolidated Mines Company. This is another Anglo American plc-owned company.
In 2012, De Beers revenue was set at US $6.1 Billion, a “decrease” from previous years when revenues reached US $9 billion per year.
Wages Paid to Black Miners
With revenue figures like those listed above, combined with the total ideological dedication to openly-declared liberalism by the owners and directors of those companies, one would have presumed that these mining houses would pay their black workers a decent living wage at the very least.
However, a series of recent strikes by mineworkers in South Africa—in 2013 and 2014, so they cannot be blamed on “apartheid”—have revealed the shocking truth about what these super capitalists pay their black workers.
For example, in a 2013 labor dispute at many of the Anglo-American-owned gold mines, the black National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) called out industrial action after management refused to raise wages to R7,000 per month (US $658, or £391, or €484).
In January 2014, the JSE and LSE-listed Impala Platinum mining company—the same one which operates in Zimbabwe and is singlehandedly responsible for keeping the Mugabe regime afloat with its tax revenues—offered to increase the minimum wage for underground workers from R8,500 per month (£480) to R10,715 per month—but spread over a three-year period.
In 2012, Impala Platinum earned R26.121 billion in revenue.
There are just on half a million miners in South Africa. If they earn on average around R6,500 per month, this translates to about R3.2 billion (R3,250,000,000) per month, or R39 billion per year (R39,000,000,000).
In US $ terms, this equals an annual salary bill of $3.6 billion (US $3,666,902,970). In UK Sterling, this equals £2.1 billion, and in Euros, €2.6 billion (€2,698,127,659).
These figures are tiny in comparison to the combined revenues and profits of the super capitalist mining houses, which total hundreds of billions. This is even more apparent if it is considered that this wage bill would be split proportionally amongst the companies according to the number of workers at each mine.
In addition, the work underground at the mine face is extremely difficult, highly dangerous, and damaging to long-term health. This is not any sort of unskilled work, comparable to say, making beds in a hotel—yet the wages are far below even that type of work.
In fact, if these super capitalists were actually concerned about “poverty” and “human rights” as they always claim to be, then they could easily triple or quadruple the average miner’s wage in South Africa and their profits would hardly even register the blip.
But this, would, of course, be too much to ask from these ultra-hypocrites and supreme exploiters—who are always quick to jump on the “blame Apartheid” bandwagon for economic and social inequality in South Africa more than twenty years after white rule ended.