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South African Mine Strikes to Cut Exports by 12.5 Billion Rand

Strikes in South Africa’s mining industry are expected to reduce exports by 12.5 billion rand ($1.4 billion) and cut gross domestic product by 0.5 percentage point this year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

The strikes have cut gold and platinum output by 10.1 billion rand and coal production by 180 million rand, and it’s not known how much of those losses can be recouped, Gordhan said in a written reply to a parliamentary question today.

Violent labor unrest in the mining industry began in January with a stoppage by workers at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the world’s second-largest platinum producer, that left four people dead. At least 46 people died during an illegal six-week strike that began Aug. 10 at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana platinum mine, 34 of them killed by police. Labor action has also shut shafts owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and other companies.

“Export losses exceed direct losses as mining has strong linkages with other sectors of the economy, which are also negatively affected,” he wrote. “Amongst the sectors most affected are fabricated metal products, machinery and equipment, rubber and basic iron and steel.”

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