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Amplats considers platinum position in South Africa

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The world’s largest platinum producer is giving consideration to abandoning projects with a three month strike in South Africa continuing to affect operations.

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.

Three main platinum companies in the area, Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin said in a joint statement that the strike action was unprecedented, and at a stage where the companies had lost over a billion dollars in revenue.

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.

Amplats CEO Chris Griffith has said the company believes in the long term future of platinum, but that if the business cannot deliver return then “we’ll look at all the options,” he said.

He has also said the Rustenburg mines will not make a profit this year, having lost a third of production, and that 7,500 jobs have been cut to to try to redress these losses.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has demanded a R12,500 per month starting wage for entry level workers, which Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin have said is unaffordable.

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