JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — As unrest sweeps across South Africa’s platinum industry, analysts fear the impact of industrial unrest on the continent’s largest economy, already hit hard by the euro-zone crisis.
Industrial strife is set to affect the country’s growth prospects, further damaging shaky investor sentiment, experts warn. On Thursday, thousands of striking miners gathered amid threats that they would bring the industry to a halt.
The rand fell more than 2 percent Wednesday after Anglo American Platinum, the world’s biggest producer of the precious metal, said it was suspending operations at five shafts in Rustenburg to protect the security of some 26,000 employees at the mines.
This was the latest in a series of actions at mines across South Africa since workers at the Marikana mine complex, operated by Lonmin, the London-listed company, went on strike Aug. 10. The police killing of 34 protesters Aug. 16 hardened the strikers’ positions. Lonmin’s production in South Africa has been halted for five weeks. Gold Fields has since been hit by two strikes, one erupting days after the other had been resolved.