Platinum Sector – Short Term Rally

National Union of Mineworkers (South Africa)
National Union of Mineworkers (South Africa) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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August 23

The price of platinum continued to move higher after news broke that the bloody strike that has hit a Lonmin
platinum mine in South Africa has now spread to a neighbouring mine.

Approximately 600 workers did not show up for work at the Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine and demanded higher wages. The demands at both mines appear to be led by rock drill operators calling for a monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,500 U.S.) a month. The rock drillers tell reporters they earn about 4,000 rand a month, but the industry and the main National Union of Mineworkers say their total compensation is about 11,000 rand.
As a results of the price move in platinum, investors have began looking at North American (N.A.) platinum producers, who’s
shares have had somewhat of a reaction. Stillwater Mining (SWC) and North American Palladium (PDL) are the only two
N.A.-based platinum/palladium producers, with ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (PPLT) giving investors an ETF option.

Credit Suisse said that save a short term rally in platinum prices due to the Lonmin strike, the price for platinum looks likely to be range bound at current levels until a supply response is seen. In this situation Lonmin will likely test covenants, whether it in September (strike impact depending) or in March.