Platinum strikes continue, possible sell out in South Africa

Sibayne Gold has shown interest in the wake of suggestions that South African platinum producers may sell out strike affected platinum mines.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin have all indicated their intentions to sell Rustenburg mines, after three months of strike action have resulted in potential revenue losses of more than a billion dollars US.

Sibayne Gold spokesperson James Wellsted said “There is nothing specific on the table right now, but we’re open to the idea [of buying these mines].”

Sibayne Gold was formed in 2012 by Gold Fields, has gained 64 per cent in share value over the last year, to $US9.14, and now claims to be the largest producer of gold in South Africa.

Amplats is the platinum unit of Anglo American, which has declared a force majeure on Rustenburg operations, and has already indicated that it will exit Union mines.

Amplats still has mines which are not affected by the strike, and continues to produce around 60% of its capacity.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said the company can continue to supply the market without depleting inventories.

The platinum mine strikes in South Africa have been going since around 80,000 workers downed tools on January 23,

The action has caused considerable social and economic strain in the region, with local business owners telling South African media that shops are closing down, with business down to a quarter of the January level, and retailers are unable to restock without custom from the mining workers.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) called the strike in order to double workers entry level wages to 12,500 rand per month, which is around $1275 at current exchange rates.

The AMCU said it would not budge despite workers having collectively lost five billion rand in wages.

The three major miners involved (Amplats, Implats and Lonmin) say that the wage demands are unrealistic and would put the platinum mines out of business.

Image: Presstv

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