In South Africa and Zimbabwe Platinum producers face an uncertain future, this is forcing the value of metal higher and will continue to do so, strikes and the possibility of nationalisation are taking a heavy toll on the industry.
In South Africa
The platinum sector is the latest to be affected by a wave of disputes after stoppages in the steel, fuel and mining sectors threaten to dent growth in Africa's biggest economy.
The members unanimously rejected the revised offer. We insist on a double-digit increase across the board, said Eddie Majadibodu, the NUM's chief negotiator at Implats.
Implats had raised its offer to between 8 and 10%, while the union has been asking for 14%, nearly triple the inflation rate. NUM workers in the gold and coal sectors have already reached deals for 7 to 10% increases, which could serve as benchmarks in the platinum talks.
The labour disputes are likely to unnerve investors already wary about putting money into the country due to steep power tariff hikes and a debate around nationalisation of the country's mines.
Talks at bigger rival Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) are set to continue on Friday. The two sides moved closer as the company raised its offer on Thursday to between 7.5% and 8%, while the union lowered its demands to between 11% and 12.5%.
Implats and Amplats account for two-thirds of global platinum supply and any strike could push prices higher.
Zimbabwe's government has given foreign companies, including mine operators and banks, 14 days to submit acceptable plans on how they propose to transfer majority shares to local residents or risk losing permits, state media reported Friday. The companies include the platinum miners Zimplats, which is majority owned by Impala Platinum, and Mimosa, Implats's 50-50 joint venture with Aquarius Platinum. Others include Rio Tinto's Murowa diamond mine, British American Tobacco and local units of the British banks Standard Chartered and Barclays.
For only the ninth time in 43 years, platinum and gold have crossed over, with gold briefly going on top of the price of platinum before the silver-colored metal jumped a tick or two, racing above gold again.
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