Tuesday, April 17th 02:59 PM IST

Platinum production plunges in South Africa

# Platinum  # PGM  # South Africa  # AngloGold Ashanti  

World's largest platinum producer South Africa suffered a setback in production of platinum group metals (PGMs) as output fell 47.6 percent in Februay.

MOSCOW(BullionStreet) : World's largest platinum producer South Africa suffered a setback in production of platinum group metals (PGMs) as output fell 47.6 percent in Februay.

According to Statistics South Africa, country's total mineral production was down 14.5 percent during the same period compared with the same month last year.

Strikes at major producer Impala Platinum and safety stoppages at AngloGold caused the sharp dip in production inn February, analysts said.

Six week long workers strike at the Rustenburg operations of Impala Platinum is reported to have lost the company 120,000 ounces of the white metal while AngloGold Ashanti lost 76,000 ounces of production due to safety stoppages.

South Africa, one of the major gold players also suffered 11.5 percent drop in gold production in February in line with it's projected gold production of only 220 tons for 2012.

South Africa's gold output fell 11.3% in volume terms in January while mine output dropped 2.5 percent in the first month of the year.

South Africa as recently as two decades ago was the world's largest producer of gold by a huge margin. Only 40 years ago South Africa produced more than 1,000 tonnes of gold per annum .

The almost 80% fall in South African gold production has led to it being overtaken by China, Australia and the U.S. Russia is being seen as next to surpass it.

Metals and other raw materials account for 65 percent of South Africa's exports and the mining industry is the biggest private-sector employer.

South Africa has the world's biggest mineral reserves and is the biggest producer of platinum and chrome.

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