What You Need to Know About the South Africa Platinum Strike

If you’re not new to the metal recycling game, you’ve probably heard the news about the platinum strike in South Africa.

On August 16th, heavily armed South African police opened fire on a crowd of 3,000 workers engaged in a wildcat strike at a platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg, leaving 34 people dead and 78 wounded. Most of the workers were members of a radical labor union who walked off the job a week earlier, demanding their wages be tripled.

In the following weeks, labor struggles gripping South Africa’s mines spread even further, with riots prompting the world’s largest platinum producer to halt production at a number of its mines. Since the strike began, more than 40 people have died.

Anglo American Platinum, a major producer of about 40 percent of the world’s platinum announced last week that it was shutting down its mining operations near Marikana because of threats against its workers.

What This Means for Platinum Prices

English: South Africa (orthographic projection)

South Africa  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The striking platinum miners signed a wage deal late Tuesday (September 18th) that ended the five-week strike, but unfortunately, did not resolve the widespread anger over inequality of of wages and the government’s failure to address poverty and unemployment.

The wider implications could be greater, as it is feared the deal could put pressure on other companies in South Africa’s platinum mining sector as workers continue to protest better pay. In the short term, however, Lonmin is confident that the pay deal will end the unrest and allow that Marikana mine to return to full production expeditiously. Platinum prices have also appeared to stabilize since the deal was signed.

For the most up-to-date news on metal prices and how it effects the scrap metal industry, don’t hesitate to contact one of Direct Metals Recycling‘s locations or give us a call. Our goal is to educate our customers so they know what to expect every time.

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