Feb 03 - Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, swings back to full-profit. But as Ciara Sutton reports it may not last long. Fresh unrest across the whole of South Africa's platinum belt is threatening their recovery.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~****~ Platinum mines in South Africa have been operating well below par for three weeks. Strikes have crippled production and are hurting three major mining companies. Anglo American Platinum is the biggest. Its latest results show it's back in profit thanks to rising sales and a drop in value of the South African rand. But CEO Chris Griffiths says it's been a struggle. ( SOUNDBITE) (English) ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHRIS GRIFFITHS, SAYING: "As a group we have delivered on our production commitments in 2013 , despite a number of headwinds and I characterise this years production as a strong performance in a challenging environment . We produced 2, 32 million equivalent platinum refined ounces from our operations which was a 5% increase year on year, from the 2012 base which was impacted by the illegal industrial action we have seen improvement in production in all the different areas of our business." Union members at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin are demanding their wages be doubled. The mining companies say that's "unaffordable and unrealistic." Anglo American is already cutting 1400 jobs as part of its restructuring plan. And it's wrestling with soaring costs and suppressed platinum prices. The latest strikes are hitting 40% of the world's platinum supply. Anglo American says more cuts might be needed if they don't return to work soon.