Eastern Platinum stops funding its only producing mine

April 19 Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:23pm EDT

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April 19 (Reuters) - Eastern Platinum Ltd suspended funding for Crocodile River mine in South Africa, its only producing mine, due to falling platinum prices and the labour unrest in the country.

Spot platinum prices have fallen 10 percent in the last year to $1,422 an ounce as demand for the metal used to build emissions-cutting catalytic converters in automobiles has remained weak.

A recovery in price of platinum group metals -- platinum, palladium and rhodium -- is unlikely in the near term due to weakness in the European automotive markets, the company said in a statement.

Eastern Platinum sold 14,066 ounces in the fourth quarter, compared to 19,854 a year earlier.

The company, which holds about 87.5 percent of Crocodile River mine, said labour unrest continues to hurt productivity throughout South Africa, which has about 80 percent of the world's known platinum reserves.

Eastplats shares, which have fallen 39 percent this year, closed at 11 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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