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Strike to halt platinum sector

Amcu says it will issue a strike notice to platinum mining companies this morning.

Amcu says it will issue a strike notice to platinum mining companies this morning. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The platinum sector is expected to come to a halt this week as more than 100,000 miners go on strike demanding higher wages.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) voted in favour of a strike during a mass meeting in Rustenburg this weekend.

Workers from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin set to down tools from Thursday.

The industry is still recovering from a wave of violent strikes in 2012, including a Lonmin strike where 34 workers were shot dead by police.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa says he will issue a strike notice to mining companies this morning.

His members are demanding a R12,500 minimum salary despite employers saying they can't afford this.

Analysts say a prolonged strike will put severe pressure on the profits of mining houses, affecting South Africa's credit rating and could also see the rand dropping even further against the dollar.

Amcu is now the majority union in the platinum sector and it has showed its power during an unprotected strike in 2012 that went on for weeks and severely affected the industry.

Mathunjwa says South Africa produces 85 percent of the world's platinum and therefore should set the price of platinum.

The strike is expected to start on Thursday.