Jul. 21, 2014, 4:36 AM
- Anglo American's (OTCPK:AAUKY) subsidiary, Amplats, is planning to sell its Union mine, Rustenburg operations and a joint venture in South Africa.
- The move will reduce the miner's staff count by 20k, and follows a continuous five-month strike against the company by the AMCU union.
- The mine is expected to be sold to Sibanye Gold (NYSE:SBGL), whose CEO Neal Froneman announced a wish for a platinum deal before the end of the year.
- ETFs: PPLT, PTM, PLTM, PGM
Jul. 1, 2014, 11:31 AM
- Platinum prices breach $1,500/oz. and palladium futures also jump as better than expected U.S. car sales data and a new strike in South Africa lured buyers into both markets.
- Upbeat reports from GM, Ford, et. al. bucked expectations for a slowdown in car sales, boosting investor appetite for platinum and palladium, which are both widely used in car exhaust filters.
- Meanwhile, a new strike by metal workers and engineers in South Africa have renewed concerns about supply after the country is still recovering from a five-month strike by platinum workers.
- Platinum producers: AAUKF, AAUKY, IMPUY, LNMIF.
- ETFs: PALL, PPLT, SPPP, PTM, PGM
Jun. 23, 2014, 11:58 AM
- South Africa's AMCU says its members agreed to a wage settlement that will end the country's longest-ever strike which has cost the mining industry 1.1M oz. in lost platinum production and helped shrink the country's economy by 0.6% in Q1 from a year earlier.
- The world's three-biggest platinum producers - Amplats (AAUKF, AAUKY), Impala Platinum (IMPUY) and Lonmin (LNMIF) - say they each lost roughly a third of their annual production, and analysts say it will take at least three months to get production back to pre-strike levels after mines have been mostly idle for the past several months.
- Platinum prices fell 1.1% to $1,437.70/oz. on the news.
- ETFs: PALL, PPLT, SPPP, PTM, PGM
Jun. 18, 2014, 9:59 AM
- South Africa's platinum miners say the industry's main labor union has made new demands that go beyond a preliminary accord struck last week, which may delay an apparent agreement to end the five-month strike by 70K-plus mine workers.
- AMCU, which has led the strike, now wants the new wage agreement to run for three years instead of five, seeks a once-time payment of ~$270 to each worker, and wants miner Lonmin (LNMIF) to rehire 235 workers it recently dismissed for participating in the strike.
- Top platinum miner Amplats (AAUKF, AAUKY) and the union are scheduled to meet today to discuss the new demands; Impala Platinum (IMPUY) says some of the new issues raised by the union are "problematic" and that it "could still take some time" to sign a deal.
- ETFs: PALL, PPLT, SPPP, PTM. PGM
Jun. 12, 2014, 8:54 AM
- South Africa’s top platinum companies and the biggest mineworkers union agree on proposals that the labor organization will take to its members in a bid to end a five-month pay strike.
- The AMCU union is meeting members at mines today to get their views on the proposal, and the companies - Amplats (AAUKF, AAUKY), Impala Platinum (IMPUY) and Lonmin (LNMIF) - expect a response tomorrow.
- More than 70K members of the union have been on strike over pay since Jan. 23, which producers say has cost 22B rand in revenue.
- ETFs: PALL, PPLT, SPPP, PTM, PGM
Jun. 9, 2014, 2:44 PM
- Wage talks between South Africa's AMCU union and major platinum producers end in failure, with the mining minister quitting his mediation role and dashing hopes for an end to the five-month strike.
- AMCU has led the strike of more than 70K mineworkers since Jan. 23, asking for monthly wages of the lowest paid underground employees to be more than doubled to 12.5K rand ($1,174) by 2017; the companies offered increases of as much as 10%.
- The world's three top platinum producers - Anglo American Platinum (AAUKF, AAUKY), Impala Platinum (IMPUY) and Lonmin (LNMIF) - say they have forfeited earnings of 22B rand and employees have lost 9.6B rand in wages since the strike began.
- The news lifted platinum prices higher by ~$15, or 1%, from a session low of $1,436/oz.
- ETFs: PPLT, PTM, PGM.
Apr. 24, 2014, 6:44 PM
- The world's top three platinum producers - Amplats (AGPPY, AGPPF), Impala Platinum (IMPUY, IMPUF) and Lonmin (LNMIF, LNMIY) - say they will bypass the union representing tens of thousands of South African miners and offer a new wage deal directly to their employees, after talks aimed at ending three months of strikes hit an impasse.
- Although the move doesn't bring an end to negotiations with the AMCA union, it could further damage already strained relations between management and strike leaders.
Apr. 24, 2014, 9:43 AM
- Anglo American (AAUKF, AAUKY) reports higher Q1 production compared with the year-ago quarter, with the exception of platinum which has suffered from protracted strikes.
- Anglo says iron ore output rose 10% to 11.3M metric tons due to solid performances from its two South African iron ore mines.
- Copper production rose 18% to 202K tons, helped by higher copper grades at the Los Bronces and Collahuasi mines in Chile.
- Coal output gained 7.5% to 23.9M tons, helped by improved production from its Colombian Cerrejon mine which suffered from strikes in the year-ago period.
- Diamond production at its De Beers unit rose 18% to 7.5M carats.
- Platinum production at its majority-owned Anglo American Platinum (AGPPY, AGPPF) fell 39% to 357K equiv. oz.
Apr. 21, 2014, 4:45 PM
- Anglo American (AAUKF, AAUKY) is preparing to exit its Rustenburg platinum mines in South Africa, FT reports, in what would be one of the miner’s most decisive moves since Mark Cutifani became CEO last year.
- South Africa’s platinum sector has been crippled for nearly three months by a strike at mines owned by Anglo and others, and the volatile labor environment is one reason for Anglo’s reluctance to invest more in its heavily staffed mines at Rustenburg.
- The Rustenburg mines last year produced ~20% of Anglo’s output of platinum and associated metals before two of the five mines were closed; Anglo American subsidiary Amplats (AGPPY, AGPPF) is the world’s largest platinum miner.
Apr. 14, 2014, 10:59 AM
- Platinum prices are surging, stoked by worries over supplies due to the crippling mine worker strike in South Africa and the potential for increased sanctions against Russia.
- Platinum mining in South Africa has plunged by more than a third since workers went on strike in January to demand higher pay; mining companies had built up their inventories before the strike, but stockpiles have dwindled as the strike reaches its 11th week.
- South Africa is the source of roughly 80% of the world's platinum, while Russia is the second largest producer; platinum is used primarily in catalytic converters of diesel-burning vehicles, which are common in Europe.
- Platinum producers: AGPPY, AGPPF, AAUKY, AAUKF, IMPUY, IMPUF, LNMIF, LNMIY.
- ETFs: PPLT, PTM, PGM
Mar. 28, 2014, 8:38 AM
- Anglo American Platinum (AGPPY, AGPPF) won't make a profit this year at its Rustenburg mines due to a 10-week strike, CEO Chris Griffith says, although it is unlikely to declare force majeure on supplies to customers.
- "If we run out of metal, we will go to the market to buy it... to supply our customers," Griffith says, adding that output was running at 60%.
- Mine workers walked off the job in January demanding a doubling of wages that South Africa's platinum producers say they can't afford; talks with the union resumed this week after collapsing three weeks ago.
Mar. 25, 2014, 10:15 AM
- Anglo American (AAUKF, AAUKY) says it is restarting operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile following violent protests earlier this week that had caused it to halt operations.
- Los Bronces, in the Andes mountains, produced more than 416K tons of copper last year, ~7% of Chile's overall output; Anglo says its other mines in Chile are operating normally.
- Meanwhile, platinum producers including Amplats (AGPPY, AGPPF) say a strike now in its ninth week at their South African mines is causing irreparable damage to the sector and local economy.
Dec. 6, 2013, 3:30 AM
- South African markets are calm following the passing of Nelson Mandela, who was instrumental in the country's peaceful transition away from apartheid.
- One of Mandela's biggest achievements was enacting policies that paved the way for GDP to grow for 15 years, the longest period of expansion in South Africa's history. These policies included embracing the free market, cutting costs and attracting foreign investment.
- The question is now that Mandela has passed on, whether South Africa will feel more free to abandon the policies and conciliation that he espoused. For example, the ANC's youth wing wants to nationalize banks and mines, policies that Mandela ditched in 1994.
- There are also fears that Mandela's death could leave South Africa open to renewed racial and social tensions, such as those seen in the mine strikes over the past year or so.
- The economy is already not in a good way: unemployment is 24.7% and there is a large inequality in earnings between blacks and whites.
- The FTSE/JSE Top 40 is +0.3%, the South African 10-year bond yield is -2.5 bps at 8.16%, and the USD-ZAR is +0.2% at 10.4732 rand.
- Tickers: HMY, AGPPY, AGPPF, AAUKY, AAUKF, SSL, GFI, ABX, AU, SBGGF.
- ETF: EZA
Sep. 27, 2013, 11:07 AM
- Fewer than one in five workers showed up today at Amplats' (AGPPY.PK, AGPPF.PK) South African platinum mines around the city of Rustenburg, in protest against planned job cuts.
- Amplats - part of global mining group Anglo American (AAUKY.PK, AAUKF.PK) and the world's No. 1 producer of the precious metal - said last month it would cut 4,800 jobs.
- Unlike work stoppages since that declaration, Friday's action is legal and in keeping with a change of tactics by the mineworkers union, which was behind a wave of wildcat strikes that rocked South Africa's gold and platinum sectors last year and drove Amplats into the red.
Aug. 30, 2013, 8:18 AM
- As a mining strike looms, new Anglo American (AAUKY.PK, AAUKF.PK) CEO Mark Cutifani tells WSJ ~50% of South Africa's gold and platinum operations are operating at a loss and "you will see shafts in platinum and gold close if the wage hike goes badly.”
- Some miners already have begun to sell their South African assets and redirect spending elsewhere; Gold Fields (GFI) last year sold all but one gold mine in the country, and Harmony Gold (HMY) is directing more of its exploration money to Papua New Guinea than to South Africa.
- More labor tension: Anglo American Platinum (AGPPY.PK, AGPPF.PK) will fire 3,300 workers at its South African mines to revive profitability; ~45% of Amplats' business is in South Africa.
May. 17, 2013, 7:58 AMThe head of a major South African mining union threatens to bring the country's economy "to a standstill" and demands a meeting with President Zuma, ramping up the rhetoric in a long and heated conflict between labor and the government. But a strike seems averted for at least another day, as top platinum producer Amplats (AGPPY.PK) says employees reported for today's shifts as normal. | Comment!
AGPPF vs. ETF Alternatives
Anglo Platinum Ltd. is the holding company for a group of companies which operate platinum mines. In addition to platinum, the group mines and produces platinum group metals such as palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium, osmium, nickel, copper and cobalt.
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