South Africa's mining industry, unions and the government have committed to a broad plan to stem job losses, including boosting platinum by promoting the metal as a central bank reserve asset, according to a draft agreement seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The parties also said they would strive to delay lay-offs, sell distressed mining assets instead of closing them, and look at ways of streamlining the legal process which employers must follow to cut jobs.
The mining industry, which contributes around 7 percent to Africa's most developed economy, is struggling with sinking commodity prices, rising costs and labor unrest, forcing a number of companies into mine closures and layoffs.
The agreement is expected to be signed on Monday next week after its details were hammered out on Tuesday.
The draft agreement lays out 10 wide interventions including getting the BRICS group of emerging nations to hold "platinum as a reserve asset" - like gold - in their central banks. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa comprise the BRICS.
The gravity of the situation faced by South Africa's mining sector was outlined on Aug. 5 - when the meetings over the jobs crisis began - by Roger Baxter, head of the Chamber of Mines. He said over 50 percent of the country's mines were currently operating at a loss, according to minutes seen by Reuters
Going completely unnoticed, Reuters on Wednesday issued an exclusive report stating that South African miners plan to target platinum as central bank reserve asset in an effort to rejuvenate the flagging mining industry. To wit (emphasis mine):
If successful, this could be a huge game changer for not only platinum, but the precious metals complex more generally.