Amplats output slumps 39pc on labour tensions

Suzie Neuwirth
ONGOING strike action in South Africa caused Anglo American’s platinum output to fall 39 per cent in the first quarter, the miner said yesterday, as it lowered its full-year guidance for the precious metal.

The FTSE 100-listed firm said it lost 185,000 ounces from affected production at the Rustenburg, Amandelbult and Union mines, pushing output down to 357,000 ounces.

It has trimmed its full-year production guidance for platinum to 2.1m ounces, from 2.3m to 2.4m ounces.

Two mines and its joint ventures were unaffected. Processing plants were also not affected so Anglo was able to tap into its inventories to make up for some of the production lost.

But Anglo American was one of the biggest risers on the FTSE yesterday, due to an 18 per cent rise in copper output and a 10 per cent increase in iron ore production in the quarter.

The militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which controls the majority of workers at South Africa’s platinum mines, has been calling for higher pay for months.

The chief executives of South Africa’s three largest platinum producers – Anglo, Lonmin and Impala Platinum – called the wage demands “unaffordable and unrealistic” earlier this year.

Shares closed 1.3 per cent higher in London yesterday.