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platinumbarReuters reports that the eastern limb of SA’s platinum belt has been hit by over 400 incidents of social unrest impacting mining operations since the start of 2016.  

This is according to data compiled by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).  The restive region in the northeast has been a flashpoint of violence rooted in community grievances over jobs, revenue flows and conflict between rival unions that threaten platinum production.  Last week, six workers were burnt to death in the area when the bus they were on was set alight by a petrol bomb.  It was transporting them to their shifts at the Modikwa platinum mine operated by African Rainbow Minerals and Amplats.  The compiled incidents range from roadblocks to wildcat strikes to physical assaults against miners.  On average over the period, either a roadblock, wildcat strike, march or act of violence took place in the region every second day, which affected a mining operation in some way.  The period also saw 40 wildcat strikes or work stoppages and there were at least 55 recorded acts of violence.  Much of the discontent stems from the stark juxtaposition of joblessness and grinding poverty atop some of the world’s richest platinum reserves.  Amplats said the unemployment in the area was close to 80%.

  • Read this report in full at EWN

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