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implatsheadgear smlReuters reports that a new power struggle is unfolding in SA’s old homelands between global mining giants, traditional leaders and an impoverished rural populace.  

Parts of an industry long used to labour unrest are now contending with community protests that have cut production of the country's largest mineral export earner, platinum, and may shut some operations down altogether.  At the heart of the conflict are tribal leaders who have royal titles and feudal-style control over the poor in the rural homelands.  The traditional leaders have acted as intermediaries with companies which have discovered chrome and coal as well as platinum in the homelands.  But, many locals say they are seeing none of the proceeds.  "If they don’t give us that R175-million, we are going to shut down the mine," said a leader of the community around the Mogalakwena platinum mine, referring to a community fund set up by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).  To avoid such an outcome, a leading human rights lawyer, Richard Spoor, is negotiating with the local royal house to allow community representatives more control over the fund.  Chris Griffith, Amplats CE, said the company was fully behind the restructuring of the community trust and was applying the lessons learned to other deals.  Meanwhile, Impala Platinum's Marula mine says it lost 10,000 ounces of almost 80,000 ounces of production in the last financial year to community protests that included road blocks, vehicle stonings and assaults on people reporting for work.

  • Read this report in full at eNCA

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