Platinum Strike Deal Edges Closer

PlatinumJohannesburg: Labour negotiations at South Africa’s PGM mines are edging closer to a resolution as talks mediated by a ministerial task team continue.

July platinum softened for a fifth session in a row on Wednesday to $1,433 an ounce and is down sharply from the $1,493 level less than two weeks ago over renewed hopes for an end to the strike and tensions between Russia and the Ukraine fading into the background.

South Africa and Russia combined account for close to 80% of global supply of palladium and 70% of platinum output which are mainly used to clean emissions in automobiles.

Palladium has outperformed its sister metal, with the price of June palladium trading flat on Wednesday at $837 an ounce, but not far off a three-year high. Palladium hit a record price of $865 in February 2011.

More than 70,000 workers at the world’s three largest platinum and palladium producers, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinumm and Lonmin have been on strike since January 23.

Newly-installed Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the team hoped to have a resolution by the end of the week while leader of the militant Amcu union Joseph Mathunjwa said the talks “went well”.