Biggest platinum miners mull wage offer

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AmcuStrikeAllGreen Independent Media. Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Johannesburg - The world’s largest platinum producers are reviewing a wage proposal from the South African union that has been on strike since January 23, causing a stoppage costing the companies $18 million a day in lost sales.

“The management is still looking at a proposal,” Jeff Mphahlele, general secretary of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, said by phone today.

The union is updating its more than 70,000 members on the platinum belt, where the AMCU is the dominant labor group, on discussions with employers to resolve the dispute, he said.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holdings and Lonmin Plc met the union February 1 for negotiations that are due to resume tomorrow.

About 45 percent of platinum operations in South Africa don’t break even, the three companies said in a statement after their latest talks.

“Prolonged strike action will result in more losses, and further fundamental restructuring and, inevitably, this will have an impact on jobs and indeed the economy,” the three producers said.

Anglo American Platinum, known as Amplats, Impala, and Lonmin, are losing about 200 million rand ($18 million) a day in revenue because of the strike, while workers are forgoing about 88 million rand in wages, the three companies said. - Bloomberg News

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