South Africa labour unrest makes it hard to raise money - Amplats

CAPE TOWN Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:22am GMT

Strikers chants slogans outside the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mines near Rustenburg, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Strikers chants slogans outside the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mines near Rustenburg, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg October 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Persistent labour unrest in South Africa is making it difficult for Anglo American Platinum (AMSJ.J) to ask investors for additional investment, its chief executive told a parliamentary committee looking at the platinum crisis in the country on Wednesday.

Workers at Amplats, majority owned by mining giant Anglo American (AAL.L), staged a one-day walk-out on Tuesday after union violence at one of its mine in South Africa.

"If we keep having all these stoppages, if we keep having all these difficulties and we keep sending these difficult messages from South Africa ... we are going to find it very difficult to ask for that money that we want to put in to maintaining our presence in South Africa," Chief Executive Chris Griffith said.

Tuesday's walk-out at the firm added to tension at the world's largest producer of the precious metal, which was looking to shed about 14,000 jobs after a year of labour strife cut into its production and revenue.

The company was in talks with government and labour unions on the planned job cuts but Griffith said he was "not confident at all" that the negotiations would prevent the job losses.

Amplats this month reported its first annual loss, battered by six weeks of violent strikes, soaring costs and flagging platinum prices.

More than 50 people were killed in labour strife last year, including 34 shot dead by police at Lonmin's (LMI.L) (LONJ.J) Marikana mine in August, the deadliest single security incident in South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994.

The ruling African National Congress has tried to reassure investors the unrest is not hurting the country, which had its sovereign credit rating downgraded by Fitch last month due in part to the labour problems.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; writing by Olivia Kumwenda; editing by James Jukwey)

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