• Platinum mines ordered to close on Saturday, reported MiningMX
  • Producers battling to withstand 53% drop in prices since 2011

South Africa’s mines safety inspectorate lifted a day-long suspension of underground operations in the platinum-rich Rustenburg area, according to a lobby group that represents the largest producers.

The inspectorate repealed “a statutory instruction to withdraw employees from all underground workings operating in Rustenburg and to conduct a comprehensive audit on all workings and travelling ways,” Charmane Russell, a spokeswoman for the Johannesburg-based Chamber of Mines, said by e-mail on Sunday.

The order to halt operations followed four fatalities at different sites last week, MiningMX news service reported earlier Sunday, citing a copy of a letter signed by Monageng Mothiba, the principal inspector of mines in the North West province. Ayanda Shezi, a spokeswomen for the department of mineral resources, didn’t answer a call seeking comment.

The move to lift the suspension comes as the largest platinum producers including Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. closed shafts, reduced spending and cut jobs to withstand a 53 percent drop in prices since 2011.

Operations at Anglo American Platinum are continuing as normal, spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said by phone. Johan Theron, a spokesman for Impala, didn’t answer a call seeking comment.

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