• Community members seek jobs, infrastructure from company
  • Police arrest 36 for public violence, malicious damage

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said protests in South Africa disrupted operations at its largest and most profitable mine as locals demand employment and the provision of infrastructure from the company.

Protesting community members are intimidating motorists and blocking roads leading to the Mogalakwena mine of Amplats, as the Johannesburg-based unit of Anglo American Plc is known, company spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said by phone Tuesday. Attendance has dropped since last week and the mine in the northern Limpopo province is operating on "skeleton staff," Sithole said.

The South African Police Service arrested 36 protesters on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property while four people including a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters political party appeared in court on a charge of inciting violence, police spokeswoman Ronel Otto said by phone.

“The situation is still tense and many of the roads around the mine remain blocked,” Otto said.

Mining companies in South Africa, the world’s largest platinum and manganese producer, are facing regular criticism from communities, unions and some politicians in the country for not doing enough to spread wealth to the poor since the end of apartheid in 1994. Amplats has earmarked the mechanized Mogalakwena pit, which contributed about a quarter of its platinum production in 2014, as a key operation for the company that is disposing of four of its older, labor-intensive mines elsewhere in the nation.

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