UPDATE 2-South African strikes could hit top platinum producers
* Wage talks between AMCU, Implats fail
* Mediator grants union go ahead to strike
* Talks also break down with Amplats
By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Ed Stoddard
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's hardline AMCU mining union on Friday threatened more strikes at the world's top platinum producers, just weeks after a deal to end an 11-day stoppage over job cuts.
The union declared a wage dispute with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and said it would consult its members at Impala Platinum (Implats) on whether to strike over wages.
The impact on platinum prices of possible strikes was muted because global demand for the precious metal remains weak. The price was flat on Friday around $1,445 an ounce.
Platinum prices have been depressed by sluggish demand especially in Europe, a key market where the metal is widely used to make emissions capping converters for diesel engines. Its price is down 14 percent in the year to date.
Fresh stoppages would again hit Africa's biggest economy, seen growing only 2.1 percent this year, after a spate of strikes in other sectors including its key auto industry.
Amplats, which with Implats accounts for over half of global platinum supply, was hit by a strike this month by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) which the company said cost almost 1 billion rand ($102 million) in lost revenue.
A government mediator will now try to resolve the deadlock between AMCU and Amplats to avert a fresh stoppage.
"The matter has been referred to the mediator today because wage talks have deadlocked," AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told Reuters.
AMCU's members at Implats could down tools with 48 hours notice if they approve a stoppage in meetings scheduled for Monday.
An AMCU shop steward at Implats said there was frustration in the shafts but he was not sure whether workers would back a strike with Christmas holidays looming.
Implats has said it has offered its lowest-paid workers increases of at least 8 percent for 2014 and then annual raises of 7 percent in the following two years. South Africa's inflation rate is currently 6 percent.
AMCU has been pushing for a more than doubling of the minimum basic pay for entry-level miners to 12,500 rand ($1,300) a month.
Amplats, which is struggling to restore profit after falling to a loss last year, did not disclose its latest offer.
The Amplats strike ended earlier this month after the company reduced job cuts to 3,000 from an initial target of 14,000 following pressure from the government and the AMCU.
Under the leadership of Mathunjwa, a lay preacher who portrays himself as a Christian soldier fighting a class war for South Africa's black mineworkers, AMCU has emerged as the dominant union on the country's platinum belt.
It poached tens of thousands of disgruntled members from the once unrivalled National Union of Mineworkers last year in a bloody turf war that killed dozens of people and sparked a wave of wildcat strikes.
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