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Anglo American shuts South African platinum mine

  • Mining giant Anglo American has suspended operations at one of its platinum mines in South Africa to "protect the safety of its employees".

    The UK-listed firm said on Wednesday that miners at its Rustenburg operations were not on strike but clarified that they were unable to go to work due to “widespread cases of intimidation".

    "We confirm that some of our employees were unable to clock in for the night shift due to fear of intimidation and threats by unidentified individuals in and around our Rustenburg operations," the company said in a statement.

    The announcement saw shares in Anglo American shed 2 percent of their value in London.

    Cynthia Carroll, chairman of Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum, said: "We have taken this decision to suspend our operations in order to help ensure the safety of our employees - our absolute priority.

    "We are in touch with the authorities at the highest level to identify how we can work together with our tripartite partners, government and the recognized labor unions, to achieve a swift and peaceful resolution to these illegal actions."

    On Tuesday, South African politician Julius Malema called for national strikes across all mines for five days every month in a bid to receive a pay increase of three times the national average.

    Anglo American’s decision comes nearly a month after South African police shot dead 34 striking miners at Lonmin's Marikana mine, also near Rustenburg.

    South Africa is the world’s largest platinum producer. Prices of the precious metal have risen more than 17 percent since the incident at Marikana.