Strikes, weak demand will see 90 000 jobs at risk in platinum industry - Minerals Council | Fin24

Strikes, weak demand will see 90 000 jobs at risk in platinum industry - Minerals Council

Apr 09 2019 11:35

The Minerals Council of South Africa has warned that 90 000 jobs in South Africa's platinum industry are at risk due to a combination of strikes, weak demand, declining productivity, growth in recycling and the rising cost of electricity.

The platinum dollar price has been steadily declining since 2011, when it was trading at around $1 800 an ounce. On Tuesday morning the spot price was $902.17 an ounce. 

Currently 65% of platinum group metals operations in South Africa are marginal or loss-making at prevailing prices, said Roger Baxter, the chief executive of the Minerals Council, in an industry presentation.

A total of 89 964 jobs are at risk at these marginal operations.

Baxter said "bold action" was needed by both the state and mining companies to prevent a further erosion of the industry. 

'National strategy' 

The platinum industry is the largest mining employer in SA, with 168 000 people directly employed. In 2018 PGM sales amounted to R105bn. 

Baxter said a national platinum strategy was needed for South Africa, saying the industry couldn't just "bumble along".

The plan that Baxter outlined includes a national strategy to drive investment demand for platinum; market development in jewellery, investment and fuel cells; and the adoption of platinum as a reserve asset.

The industry has long been arguing that platinum should be marketed as a reserve asset, similar to gold. 



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