South African platinum mining company Lonmin has lost a third of its annual production due to an industry strike over wages which its chief executive described as a “bleeding” that might lead to the company’s death if not stopped in time, Reuters reported.
South Africa’s longest and costliest mining strike turned violent this month, with four miners killed as more employees tried to report for work at the world’s top platinum producers. Lonmin had anticipated a mass return of its employees to work last week, but striking members of the main Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) prevented many other workers from going back to the mines.
The strike has also hit the South African operations of Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, taking out 40 percent of global production of the precious metal used for emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles. Still, platinum price has been largely unaffected as buyers amassed large stockpiles of the precious metal during the months prior to the strike.
With a 1.6 percent increase on Wednesday, May 21, Chinese palladium bar was the biggest mover on the Global Precious Metals MMI®. After a 1.2 percent increase, US palladium bar finished the day at $823.00 per ounce. Japanese palladium bar saw little change in its price on Wednesday at JPY 2,687 ($26.53) per gram.
Chinese platinum bar prices rose 0.3 percent to CNY 313.00 ($50.18) per gram. The price of US platinum bar moved up 0.1 percent, landing at $1,466 per ounce. After a couple of days of decreasing prices, the price of Japanese platinum bar held steady at JPY 4,794 ($47.34).
Japanese gold bullion closed 0.3 percent lower at JPY 4,212 ($41.59) per gram. Prices for Indian gold bullion have gained increasing momentum since Thursday, May 15. After climbing 0.2 percent, the metal closed at INR 27,545 ($470.11) per 10 grams. Chinese gold bullion saw its price rise 0.2 percent to CNY 260.35 ($41.74) per gram. US gold bullion finished the day up 0.1 percent to $1,294 per ounce.
Following a two-day drop, the price of Indian silver increased by 0.9 percent to INR 41,950 ($715.96) per kilogram. The price of Japanese silver fell 0.5 percent to JPY 639.00 ($6.31) per 10 grams. At CNY 4,155 ($666.11), the price of Chinese silver finished the market day up 0.4 percent per kilogram. US silver gained 0.3 percent to finish at $19.39 per ounce.