During his 2013 budget speech, finance minister Pravin Gordhan pointed out that R15.3 billion has been lost in total mining output value in South Africa during 2012 owing to stoppages and a tense labour relations environment, which saw a wave of unprotected strikes and violence crippling the sector.

Gordhan said that value-added output fell by 4.3% in the first three quarters of 2012 in response to strike-related production stoppages, while weaker global growth slowed Chinese demand and softened commodity prices.

Further, China and other emerging markets were currently the principal drivers of demand and prices for a range of industrial, energy and agricultural commodities, while weaker automotive markets in Europe and Japan and increased recycling of autocatalysts have contributed to lower demand for platinum.

The National Treasury warned that delays in the resumption of full operations, shaft closures and fraught labour relations could constrain output for an extended period, with structural challenges and a changing global context affecting the outlook for the sector.

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