Anglo American reports platinum slump

Anglo American, the world's biggest producer of platinum, on Friday said its production of platinum dropped 29 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 following violent strike action at mines in South Africa.

"Equivalent refined platinum production decreased by 29 percent owing to the illegal strike action at the Rustenburg, Amandelbult and Union mines," the company said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

"The illegal strike took place between 18 September and 15 November 2012. This resulted in a loss of platinum production of 272,590 ounces during the quarter."

Anglo said platinum production had slid to 416,000 ounces in the three months to December 31 compared with 583,000 in the final quarter of 2011.

Earlier this month the mining giant announced plans to axe 14,000 jobs in a dramatic restructuring of its strike-hit South African operations, with Anglo's platinum subsidiary Amplats saying it planned to close four shafts and sell a mine considered unsustainable to deliver R3.8 billion in cost savings by 2015.

The vast majority of job cuts, 13,000 in all, would be lost around Rustenburg, where labour unrest shocked the world last August and September.

Earlier this week ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe accused Anglo of "stealing" from South Africa.

During an interview on SAFM he said, "They have stolen our money. They are a British company now. They have a responsibility to talk to South Africa on the operations."

Mantashe added that South Africa needs to take "a bigger interest and control" of mines and claimed Anglo was closing shafts in the North West simply to push up platinum prices.

He also dismissed claims that Amplats was cutting production to save the company and said he thought there was an ulterior motive.

"What you are doing is reducing supply, and you can have only one objective, that of pushing the price through the roof."

Anglo American owns 80 percent of Amplats.

Image: Getty

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