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Amplats declares force majeure with suppliers due to South Africa strike

LAUSANNE Switzerland – Anglo American Platinum has sent force majeure notices to some of the suppliers to its South African mines, the world’s top platinum producer said on Tuesday, underscoring the widening economic impact of an almost ten-week-old strike.

“Suppliers of goods and services whose contractual obligations cannot be met due to the strike have been advised that force majeure is being asserted,” the company said in a statement obtained by Reuters at an industry conference in Switzerland.

The company also said that no force majeure notices have been issued to its own customers.

Amplats chief executive Chris Griffith had said on Friday Amplats was unlikely to declare force majeure to customers, an industry term for when a producer is unable to supply due to forces beyond its control.

Tens of thousands of members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union downed tools almost ten weeks ago at Amplats and rivals Impala Platinum and Lonmin in a strike over wages.

The stoppage has curbed about 40%of global production of the precious metal and there is no end in sight with no direct talks scheduled between and the two sides still poles apart on the issue of wages.

Implats confirmed in late February that it also had declared force majeure on supply contracts at its strike-hit Rustenburg mine northwest of Johannesburg.

Platinum outperformed other precious metals to rise 1.1% to $1 424.99 an ounce by 1254 GMT , sending the gold/platinum ratio, which measures the number of gold ounces needed to buy an ounce of platinum, to a two-month high at 1.11.

Shares of Amplats were up 3%  to R487.75.

Source – Mining weekly