The world’s largest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), suspended production at five operations this week. Protesters illegally blocked the entrances to several Amplats operations. Gold Fields reported similar problems. Strikes also continued at the Lonmin mine, where trouble erupted a month ago.

On September 12, 2012, Amplats said it was suspending its Rustenburg operations to protect the safety and security of its employees from outside intimidation. “Our employees are not on strike,” said Chris Griffith, CEO, Amplats. “However, 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 in the Rustenburg area with immediate effect. The suspension will continue until such time as operations can be safely resumed.”

Gold Fields reported its miners in the West Section of the KDC gold mine (KDC West, formerly Driefontein) on the West Rand in South Africa have been engaging in an unlawful and unprotected strike since the start of the night shift on September 9, 2012. Approximately 15,000 miners are participating in the strike and all production at KDC West has been suspended as a result.

The senior leadership of Gold Fields’ South Africa Region and KDC are at the mine engaging with the striking employees, the various unions and other structures, with a view to finding a speedy and peaceful resolution to the unlawful strike.

“At this stage the reason for the strike remains unclear but we hope to gain clarity as soon as possible,” said Peter Turner, executive vice president and head of Gold Fields’ South Africa Region. “The situation on the mine has been calm and peaceful since the start of the strike and we appeal to all stakeholders to continue to act with restraint and to engage in good faith. It is important that we restore normality in a peaceful manner and as soon as possible.”