JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin said on Tuesday a strike now in its ninth week at their South African mines was causing irreparable damage to the sector and local economy.
Wage talks have broken down between the companies and the striking AMCU union, which is demanding a doubling of basic wages, although the world’s top three platinum producers said they were open to talks "within a reasonable settlement zone".
In a joint statement, the companies said they had lost nearly 10 billion rand ($921 million) in revenues, but also pointed to the cost to communities around the mines in the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg.
South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid mine strike, which has hit 40 percent of global production of the precious metal, is also seen denting sluggish economic growth and widening the current account deficit as its effects ripple from the platinum communities throughout the wider economy.
"The financial cost … does not tell the full story," the companies said. "Mines and shafts are becoming unviable; people are hungry; children are not going to school; businesses are closing and crime in the platinum belt is increasing."
South Africa’s largest labour grouping COSATU, which includes AMCU’s archrival […]