The recent labor disputes over wages and working conditions that have affected South Africa’s three leading platinum-group metal (PGM) producers have affected an industry already plagued by market pressures and labor unrest and raised the specter of constraints in the world’s supply of these metals. Although low demand for these metals in 2011 and 2012 helped to offset production losses of recent years, and particularly those losses caused by the strikes in 2012, a prolonged resumption of strikes could cause severe shortages of iridium, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, and, to a lesser extent, palladium.
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Recent strikes in South Africa’s platinum-group metal mines: effects upon world platinum-group metal supplies
Originally posted on December 21, 2012; Revised on September 6, 2013