South Africa deployed extra police across its platinum belt, the world’s richest deposit of the metal, to tighten security as at least 70,000 workers prepared to begin a strike at the start of today’s early shift.
Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS), Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP) and Lonmin Plc (LMI), the world’s three largest producers, put increased safety measures in place as the nation sought to avoid a repeat of labor unrest that claimed the lives of at least 44 workers in the area, northwest of Johannesburg, in August 2012.
The strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will disrupt operations accounting for about 70 percent of global output of the precious metal. The union says it will maintain the walkout until its demand that wages for the lowest-paid entry-level miners are more than doubled to 12,500 rand ($1,150) is met.
The South African Police Service sent additional officers to the platinum producing areas of the North West province “to make sure that whoever is going to work or coming out of work finds security,” spokesman Thulani Ngubane said by phone. Police would be in place “in the streets and public areas, so that we don’t have problems of people intimidating and stopping other going to work,” he said.