Jan. 15 - Anglo American Platinum has said it will cease production at four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, which could lead to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs. Hayley Platt reports.
It's been 3 months since riots at Anglo American Platinum stopped production at mines in South Africa. The battles cost billions of dollars in lost revenue. And now the world's top platinum producer is closing four of its shafts and selling another. 14,000 jobs will go and output could be cut by a fifth - that's around 400,000 ounces. Some posts may be reinstated in the future but mining analyst Loane Sharp says the impact could be huge. (SOUNDBITE) ( English) ANALYST LOANE SHARP SAYING: "There is a significant crisis going on in the South Africa mining industry, and what amazes me is that the government is completely inactive, there is no leadership, there is no indication, the minister of labour has reclused herself from this processes he has delegated responsibility to resolving labour conflict to some secondary labour market institutions, there is no political seriousness to the crises that is affecting our mines." The re-organisation had been expected. Shares at Anglo American - which owns 80 percent of Amplats - have lost a fifth of their value over the past year. And CEO Cynthia Carroll quit last October. Her replacement Mark Cutifani doesn't start work until April. He'll have a tough task rebuilding an industry which some fear is shrinking too fast. (SOUNDBITE) ( English) ANALYST LOANE SHARP SAYING "South Africa's mines employ 1.4 million people in 1994 today they employ just 523 000 and over the next three years we expecting mines in South Africa to let off another further 200 000 workers." The latest closures could spark a new wave of unrest. One South African union has already threatened strike action. And platinum prices hit a three-month high on the new supply concerns