South African Platinum Strike “Officially Over”

A five-month strike at the South African operations of major platinum miners is “officially over,” Joseph Mathunjwa, leader of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), said today.

The companies involved in the strike have not yet commented, but AMCU members are certainly pleased with its resolution.  “[T]ens of thousands of workers packed into Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium” greeted Mathunjwa’s statement with “unrestrained jubilation,” as per Reuters.

That said, it won’t be all sunshine and roses moving forward.

Elize Strydom, the chief negotiator of the country’s Chamber of Mines, is quoted saying, “[t]he hard work starts now. It’s going to take time for production to get to levels prior to the strike. I think we are still going to have to do a lot of work to convince the world and investors that platinum is a good commodity to invest in.”

The good news is that thus far, platinum and palladium prices don’t seem to have been hurt by the announcement. The Wall Street Journal said that platinum for July delivery ended today at $1,456.60 per ounce, down just 0.1 percent, while palladium for September delivery rose 0.1 percent to close at $822.65 per ounce.