Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the platinum producer that last week announced it was firing 14,000 workers and selling off mines in South Africa, has suspended the measure until March.
According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the world’s top platinum company is now engaged in negotiations with union leaders and the government and it is expected to release a formal announcement on whether talks had succeeded in saving jobs later today.
Amplats’ latest decision to close and sell off several of its mines has caused tensions with controlling Anglo American (LON:AAL) on the one hand and with the Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu, and African National Congress (ANC) secretary, Gwede Mantashe, on the other.
The company currently supplies 40% of the world’s platinum demand. The closures announced last Tuesday would remove 400,000 oz. of its annual production, or a bit under 20% of its annual baseline production target, as well as a 7% from its overall global production.
South Africa’s mining unrest began when operators working for London-listed platinum Lonmin (LON:LMI) went on strike asking for higher wages in August. It escalated after police shot and killed 34 protesters near Lonmin’s mine complex in Marikana, and spread across the platinum and gold sectors.