Impala Platinum Retreats on Strike at World’s Biggest Mine

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. fell for the first time in three days after saying about 5,000 rock-drill operators stopped work at its Rustenburg operation, the world’s biggest platinum group metals mine.

The second-largest platinum producer dropped 1.1 percent to 176.01 rand by the close of trading in Johannesburg. The stoppage began on Jan. 20 and is related to salary grievances, the Johannesburg-based mining company said in a statement today. Larger rival Anglo American Platinum Ltd. rose 0.6 percent.

“A court order has declared the strike illegal and the company will follow due legal process with all employees who do not report for duty on Tuesday,” the company said.

Impala Platinum agreed a wage deal with South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers that will see pay increased by as much as 10 percent, Bob Gilmour, a company spokesman, said on Oct. 7. Inflation in the country, the continent’s biggest economy, was 6.1 percent in December, matching the previous month’s reading, the highest since January 2010.

Gross platinum output declined 12 percent to 388,000 ounces in the first quarter through September compared with a year earlier, the company said on Nov. 17. Three workers died at the company’s Rustenburg operation in the period.

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