Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Pretoria -

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi denied on Tuesday that he “abandoned” wage negotiations in the platinum mining sector.

“I strongly believe we've done enough work... for the parties to be able to move forward (independently),” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“It is a misperception that I am abandoning the talks.”

The minister set up an intergovernmental technical task team two weeks ago to intervene in talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and platinum mining companies.

Amcu members downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

They have so far rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by July 2017.

On Saturday, Ramatlhodi said he would pull out of the talks if no agreement was reached by Monday.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin said they would look at other options.

So far, the industry has lost R21.8 billion in earnings, while employees have forfeited wages of around R9.7bn, according to a website set up by the companies, www.platinumwagenegotiations.co.za. - Sapa