Platinum stockpiles built to weather a strike at the world’s three largest producers of the metal may run out if a new round of talks to end a six-week pay strike at South African mines ends in deadlock.
Demand for a proposed platinum coin named after Nelson Mandela could be as high as the equivalent of one million ounces of the metal a year, about 8 percent of total use, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. said.
Platinum’s three biggest producers are accepting crippling output disruptions and lost sales from a South African strike rather than yielding to union demands and higher wage costs, according to Stanlib Asset Management.
The world’s biggest platinum producers have built stockpiles to last as long as eight weeks, helping them weather a strike that’s begun crippling their mines in South Africa, source of about 70 percent of global supplies.
South African police fired rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse a 3,000-strong crowd who massed at an Anglo American Platinum Ltd. mine in support of a strike that has disrupted the world’s three biggest producers.
A South African strike that has crippled output at the biggest platinum mines will spread at Anglo American Platinum Ltd. after a second union told the company its members will stop work at refineries and smelters.