Swiss mining company Glencore and Merafe Resources have reached an agreement with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa to end a strike at the companies’ chrome joint venture.

The operation is near South Africa’s platinum belt, where a five-month strike had previously shutdown production at the world’s biggest producer of ferrochrome, an ingredient that is used to make stainless steel.

In September, around 1,500 workers held a strike demanding a salary increase for the lowest level workers.

Under the agreement signed on 28 November, worker wages are now expected to almost double over the next three years.

"Under the agreement…worker wages are now expected to almost double over the next three years."

Staff will be returning to work today and tomorrow at the three mines around South Africa’s Rustenburg area, located north of Johannesburg.

Merafe investor relations manager Kajal Bissessor said in an email that production had halted at the joint venture’s western area mines in September.

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By GlobalData

Due to the strike, Merafe’s ferrochrome output had declined from from 85,600 metric tonnes (mt) to 74,000mt a year for the three months up to September.

Glencore holds 79.5% and Merafe owns 20.5% of the joint venture operation.