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South African platinum mine closes due to low group metals basket prices

JOHANNESBURG -- A South Africa platinum mine owned by global giant Anglo American will temporarily halt operations after low prices made operations unviable, the co-owner said Monday.

Partners in the Marikana mine “have agreed in principle to place the ... operations on care and maintenance, due to the enduring low platinum group metals basket price environment,” Aquarius Platinum said on its website.

“Trading conditions in the platinum industry are expected to remain difficult in the short- to medium-term and these conditions have rendered the operations at the (mine) uneconomic.”

Aquarius owns 50 percent of the venture in northwestern town Rustenburg.

The company did not say how many jobs would be affected, estimated at 1,500 by Business Day newspaper.

The announcement follows a decision by another mining groupa Eastern Platinum, to halt a new platinum project at Steelpoort in the north of the country, for similar reasons, the newspaper said.

South Africa has around 87 percent of the world's platinum resources and is the largest producer of the metal, mostly used in vehicle catalytic converters to cut pollution.

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