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Anglo American Platinum Mineworkers Walk Out in Job-Cut Protest

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. mineworkers walked out in protest at planned job cuts at the world’s biggest producer of the metal.

“There was a refusal to go underground last night,” Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesman for South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers, said in a phone interview. “They’re protesting the restructuring at the company and the proposed layoff of 14,000 workers.”

Amplats, as the metal producer is known, intends to idle four shafts and reduce output by 400,000 ounces a year, or as much as 19 percent of its total, to curb costs. It’s among mining companies in South Africa grappling with higher expenses after strikes last year led to above-inflation wage increases.

Mines Minister Susan Shabangu said yesterday Amplats may lose some mining rights if it goes ahead with the job cuts. Producers in South Africa already idled nine platinum shafts and dismissed 3,332 workers in the second half of last year, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.

Calls to Anglo Platinum weren’t answered.

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