South African Platinum Miners’ Strike Poised to Move Into Fifth Month

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An empty bus that’s supposed to be taking Lonmin PLC employees back to work rolled along the dusty main road in Marikana in the heart of South Africa’s platinum belt, where miners have been on strike for four months.

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“You can see for yourself,” Jandri van Rensburg, a 25-year-old platinum miner who was drinking beer outside Survivors Pub in the settlement on a sunny Friday afternoon, told Bloomberg News. “Don’t believe what the mines are saying — people don’t want to go back to work.”

The bus, green with about 30 seats and a Lonmin sign on the side, was one of three empty shuttles that a reporter from Bloomberg News saw on May 16 heading toward Lonmin (LON)’s Wonderkop mine, close to where 34 wage protesters were killed by police in 2012. Mediation talks between the companies and worker representatives in Johannesburg, set down for three days, have been extended into the weekend.

On Tuesday, May 27, the day’s biggest mover was US silver, which saw a 2.0 percent decline to $19.05 per ounce. The price of Indian silver declined 1.7 percent to INR 41,050 ($699.62) per kilogram. The price of Chinese silver ended a two-day climb, settling at CNY 4,175 ($669.35) per kilogram. The price of Japanese silver held steady at JPY 636.00 ($6.24) per 10 grams.

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US gold bullion ended the day at $1,267 per ounce, after the 2.0 percent drop on Tuesday. At INR 26,652 ($454.23) per 10 grams, Indian gold bullion fell 0.6 percent yesterday. Following a couple of essentially changeless days, the price of Japanese gold bullion rose by 0.2 percent, closing at JPY 4,237 ($41.58) per gram. The price of Chinese gold bullion showed little movement on Tuesday at CNY 259.60 ($41.62) per gram.

US platinum bar prices saw a 1.0 percent decline to $1,460 per ounce. At JPY 4,854 ($47.63) per gram, the price of Japanese platinum bar was essentially unchanged. Chinese platinum bar stayed flat at around CNY 315.00 ($50.50) per gram.

US palladium bar finished the day down 0.6 percent to $826.00 per ounce. The price of Japanese palladium bar continues hovering around JPY 2,687 ($26.37) per gram for the fifth day in a row. Chinese palladium bar held its value on Tuesday at CNY 190.00 ($30.46) per gram.

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