Stocks rise as strike talks boost miners

Producers such as Implats, Amplats and Lonmin all gained around one percent in the day’s trading.

FILE: Thousands of Amcu mineworkers marched to Lonmin’s headquarters in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, as they entered the 10th week of their strike for higher wages. 3 April 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mining companies helped lift South African shares higher on Tuesday after mining union members and executives from the world's top platinum producers met to discuss a deal aimed at ending a crippling 13-week strike.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin are offering a R12,500 salary to workers by mid-2017.

Amcu said it would meet with the CEOs of the companies today to discuss what the offer entailed.

The strike has already cost the companies over R13 billion while employees have lost R6 billion in wages.

Producers such as Implats, Amplats and Lonmin all gained around one percent in the day's trading.

The Top-40 index was up 0,61 percent to 43,711.36 points, close to a record high of 43,840.65 hit earlier this month. The All-share gained 0,58 percent to 48,643.31, also close to the record high.

Volumes were thin after a long weekend to mark the Easter holiday and as investors reduced activity ahead of the general election on 7 May.

"There's too much uncertainty at the moment, particularly with the mines and elections," said Ryan Woods, a trader at Independent Securities.

Around 70,000 platinum miners have been away from work for around three months, with Amcu unwavering in its demands.

Cadiz Corporate Solutions mining analyst Peter Major says he's been surprised by the length of the strike and believes Amcu is asking for too much.

"These people really don't have a clue what they're bargaining against. They just don't accept the reality out there and they're asking for something that's impossible to give.

"If people break into your house, kidnap your daughter and they ask you for 10 times what you could ever come up with, how can you budge? That's essentially what it is here."