South African Miners Strike Goes Violent, Platinum Bar Prices Shift 1.4%

A violent end to a workers’ strike at UK-based Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in South Africa leads to international news headlines — and of course, at least in the short term, spikes in platinum prices.

Source: The New York Times

South African police killed 34 striking workers and injured 78, according to several reports including that of the New York Times. The Marikana mine strike, brewing for a while, comes down to an increasingly emboldened and more “radical” workers union, the Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union, wanting more money for its workers, according to the Times.

Inevitably, although situations such as these should never come to hostile violence and great losses of life, it brings the risk of mining for commodities in volatile nations and poverty-stricken areas into sharp focus. This is an ongoing concern for miners and metals producers in particular African nations, and in others such as Afghanistan.

Platinum prices followed suit, reaching the highest levels since July 6, according to Bloomberg…

US platinum bar saw a 1.4 percent increase on the MetalMiner IndX℠ on Aug. 16, 2012, reaching $1,415 per ounce and making it the biggest upwards shift of the day. Chinese platinum bar closed 0.3 percent lower at CNY 306.50 ($48.13) per gram. Japanese platinum bar gained 0.3 percent to finish at JPY 3,561 ($45) per gram.

US palladium bar finished the day up 0.9 percent to $581.00 per ounce. Japanese palladium bar ended the day at JPY 1,470 ($18) per gram, after the 0.1 percent drop on Thursday. Chinese palladium bar stayed flat at around CNY 140.00 ($21.98) per gram.

Meanwhile, the price of US gold bullion increased 0.7 percent to $1,615 per ounce. After a 0.6 percent increase, Japanese gold bullion finished the day at JPY 4,084 ($52) per gram. Following a 0.3 percent rise yesterday, the price of Chinese gold bullion closed at CNY 329.55 ($51.75) per gram. The price of Indian gold bullion fell 0.2 percent to INR 29,872 ($538) per 10 grams.

US silver prices rose 0.8 percent to $28.19 per ounce. Japanese silver saw its price rise 0.3 percent to JPY 703.00 ($8.99) per 10 grams. At INR 53,241 ($959), the price of Indian silver finished the market day up 0.2 percent per kilogram. The price of Chinese silver flattened at CNY 5,875 ($922) per kilogram after two days of downward movement.

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