South African Gold Output Plunges by 46% as Strikes Close Mines

South African gold output plunged by 46 percent in October as a wave of labor strikes in the country idled the continent’s biggest mines.

Iron-ore production fell 23 percent and chrome 19 percent after unrest in platinum mining spread. Statistics SA released the production statistics today on its website.

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd., the world’s third and fourth-largest gold producers, were forced to close all their local mines in October because of strikes. The unrest will probably cost the economy about half a percentage point of growth, National Treasury Director General Lungisa Fuzile said.

Workers at Lonmin Plc, the world’s third-largest producer of the metal, ended a six-week strike on Sept. 20 after being awarded pay increases of 11 percent to 22 percent. South Africa’s inflation rate was 5.5 percent that month.