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Strike causes Amplats to declare force majeure

Lausanne, Switzerland - Anglo American Platinum has sent force majeure notices to some of the suppliers to its South African mines, the world's top platinum producer said on Tuesday, underscoring the widening economic impact of an almost 10-week-old strike.

“Suppliers of goods and services whose contractual obligations cannot be met due to the strike have been advised that force majeure is being asserted,” the company said in a statement obtained by Reuters at an industry conference in Switzerland.

Mine workers gesture as they are addressed by President of South Africa's Association of Mine workers and Construction Union (AMCU) Joseph Mathunjwa in Johannesburg March 27, 2014. Credit: Reuters

The company also said that no force majeure notices have been issued to its own customers.

Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith had said on Friday Amplats was unlikely to declare force majeure to customers, an industry term for when a producer is unable to supply due to forces beyond its control.

Tens of thousands of members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools almost 10 weeks ago at Amplats and rivals Impala Platinum and Lonmin in a strike over wages.

The stoppage has curbed about 40 percent of global production of the precious metal and there is no end in sight with no direct talks scheduled between and the two sides still poles apart on the issue of wages.

Implats confirmed in late February that it also had declared force majeure on supply contracts at its strike-hit Rustenburg mine northwest of Johannesburg.

Platinum outperformed other precious metals to rise 1.1 percent to $1,424.99 an ounce by 14:54 SA time, sending the gold/platinum ratio, which measures the number of gold ounces needed to buy an ounce of platinum, to a two-month high at 1.11.

Shares of Amplats were up 3 percent to 487.75 rand. - Reuters

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