CAPE TOWN, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- An on-going strike by more than 80,000 gold mineworkers will cost the gold sector 350 million rand (about 35 million U.S. dollars) in revenue a day, an association of gold companies said on Wednesday.
"If the entire industry is out of production simultaneously, the impact of the strike is significant," said the association Gold Producers.
"We are looking at potential loss of revenue for the sector of 350 million rand a day," said Gold Producer's Charmain Russell, adding employees will not be receiving income during strike and that they will lose up to 10 million rand in wages.
The workers downed tools on Tuesday evening to press demands for an increase of 2,300 rand (about 230 U.S. dollars) for surface and opencast miners and 3,000 rand (about 300 dollars) for underground miners.
The strike is affecting major gold companies and dealing a further blow to the mining sector that has been hard hit by persistent strikes since last year.
Production at 17 of the 23 mines currently in negotiations was either partially or severely affected, according to the Chamber of Mines.
Also on Wednesday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which organized the strike, denied reports that it has backed down from its salary increase demand, saying its demand stands.
Earlier press reports said the NUM had offered to lower its wage increase demands to gold companies, raising hopes of a possible compromise that could limit the duration of the strike.
Employers have offered a 6.5-percent pay increase, but the NUM turned down the offer as "a joke." The NUM said the demands of the workers are reasonable and the mines can afford them.