* Weds is final day for this round of talks
* Big 3 platinum producers hit
* AMCU is demanding a "living wage"
By Zandi Shabalala
PRETORIA, Jan 28 Government-brokered talks
between the world's top three platinum producers and South
Africa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union
(AMCU) seeking to end a crippling strike ended on Tuesday with
no resolution in sight.
The strike, which began on Thursday and has hit around 40
percent of global output of the precious metal, could be
protracted as the two sides remain poles apart on the issue of
"We are not going to divulge what we are talking about.
There are offers on the table," AMCU's chief negotiator Jimmy
Gama told reporters after several hours of talks ended for the
day at a Pretoria hotel.
"I cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, we will
continue tomorrow," he said.
AMCU members downed tools on Thursday at American Platinum
, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, bringing
operations around the gritty mining town of Rustenburg to a halt
and dealing a fresh blow to investor confidence in Africa's
The strike has hit over 40 percent of global production of
the precious metal used to build catalytic converters in
automobiles, according to estimates by Thomson Reuters GFMS.
The companies have said that collectively they are losing
almost 10,000 ounces a day in lost production worth about $14
million at current spot prices.
Implats' spokesman Johan Theron told Reuters the company had
stockpiles to supply customers for six to eight weeks, but said
this was its normal pipeline and "does not imply that we have
hoarded metal supplies in anticipation of a strike."
"Generally, for an operation like Implats, we can still
produce final metals for a period of six to eight weeks once the
mining input is stopped, before the process inventories are
Under the populist battle cry of a "living wage", AMCU is
demanding minimum entry-level pay of 12,500 rand ($1,100) a
month from the three platinum producers - a more than doubling
of current levels.
The three platinum producers say they can ill afford such
increases as they struggle to recover from a wave of wildcat
strikes, rooted in a vicious turf war between AMCU and its arch
rival the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), that battered the
sector in 2012.
Dozens of people have been killed the past two years in the
union conflict and NUM said on Tuesday in a statement that its
members, who are not on strike, were being "intimidated and
assaulted" if they tried to report to the shafts.
"Since the strike began last week Thursday, intimidation has
been high in the platinum belt," said NUM, a key ally of the
ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has lost tens of
thousands of members to AMCU.
AMCU has long denied allegations that it uses violence and
intimidation in pursuit of its agenda.
The companies last week said AMCU's demands were
"unaffordable and unrealistic" and have made offers of between
7.5 and 8.5 percent, well above the current inflation rate of