By Wendell Roelf
CAPE TOWN May 28 South Africa may take
unspecified "interventions" in the gold and platinum sectors as
part of a state plan to maintain the viability of the
industries, mines minister Susan Shabangu said on Tuesday.
"I have directed my officials to urgently explore all
available avenues and develop a rescue plan," she said in a
speech to parliament.
There would be a "particular focus on both supply and
demand-side interventions," she said.
The world's top platinum producers, South Africa and Russia,
agreed to attempt to cope with excess supplies of the metal
through a memorandum of understanding signed in March during the
BRICS emerging market powers meeting in Durban.
Shabangu gave no other details as to what the interventions
However, concerns about job cuts would likely prevent
Pretoria from radically manipulating the platinum supply.
Anglo American Platinum, seeking to restore profits
after falling into loss last year, had to back down from an
initial target of 14,000 job cuts in the face of stiff
resistance from unions, the government and the ruling African
National Congress (ANC).
Spot platinum on Tuesday fetched $1,442.75 an ounce,
down over 35 percent from a record high of $2,240 hit in March
2008. Bullion's price is down nearly 18 percent to date