The largest producer of platinum halted its operations as labor turmoil in South Africa's mining industry disrupted gold and platinum mines. Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) Chief Executive Officer Chris Griffity said in a statement, "In light of the current volatile situation in the Rustenburg area, where our employees, who want to go to work, are being prevented from doing so and are being intimidated by the threat of violence, Anglo American Platinum has decided to suspend its operations." The company diverted about 3,000 employees from its mines in the area to an undisclosed "neutral place," where the halt will last until work can safely resume.
Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for the Johannesburg-based company known as Amplats, said that the intimidation of its workers is the latest escalation of unrest in the South African mining industry amid unlawful work stoppages at Lonmin PLC (LMI)'s Marikana mine and Gold Fields Ltd. About 43,000 people are either on strike at these three companies or staying away from work. Platinum prices rose to a five-month high, as the country produces about 75 percent of the world's platinum, used in pollution reducing devices and jewelry.