South African mining unrest starts to spiral

City A.M. Reporter
LABOUR unrest in South Africa’s platinum belt spread yesterday, raising concerns that the strike that started at Lonmin’s Marikana mine over low wages could generate fresh violence after 34 striking miners were shot dead by police last week.

The world’s top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, said yesterday it had received a demand for a pay increase from its South African workers, while Royal Bafokeng Platinum said a labour action by about 500 miners interrupted work at a shaft at its Rasimone mine.

The price of platinum leapt 1.5 per cent to touch $1,524.50 an ounce – its highest since early May, driven by concern about supply from South Africa, which holds 80 per cent of the known reserves of the metal.

Ten people had been killed last week before police opened fire on striking miners, shooting dead another 34 in the worst such bloodshed since the end of apartheid white-minority rule in 1994.