Anglo American Platinum has sold its labour-intensive South African mine to bullion producer Sibanye Gold for 4.5 billion rand ($331 million). As Sara Hemrajani reports Amplats was hit by a record five-month strike at Rustenberg mine last year.
Anglo American is unloading a major - but perhaps troublesome - asset. The platinum division of the company is selling its Rustenburg mine in South Africa for more than $330 million. Although Rustenburg produces about a third of Amplats' output, the facility is labour-intensive and has been plagued by strike action. Last year operations were hit by a record five-month walkout by hundreds of unions members. World First chief economy Jeremy Cook says even more disputes are likely. SOUNDBITE: Jeremy Cook, chief economist, World First, saying (English): "Labour disputes within the South African mining industry are also pretty frantic at the moment. We're likely to see more of those over the course of the end of the year. So for Anglo American, and I'm not sure if they've sat there and said we've made as much money out of the Rustenburg mine as we really want to, but I think they may be quitting while they're ahead." Platinum producers have also been suffering from persistent weakness in the metal's price. With the sector looking to cut costs, Amplats is focusing its resources on newer, more mechanised mines.