Speaker after speaker at a platinum conference highlighted the parlous state of SA’s platinum industry and its declining relevance to world supplies, flying in the face of comments from Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe that there was no crisis in the sector. While one executive spoke of the understanding Mantashe had behind closed doors in talks with companies about the dire situation in the local platinum mining sector, the minister could hardly be seen to describe it as an industry in crisis given his constituency and background in the ANC and National Union of Mineworkers and he could hardly concede the point, which could be seen as an endorsement of mine closures, suspensions and job cuts. "It can’t be a crisis. My own diagnosis of the crisis in the platinum sector is relations with both the workers and communities. When you have a relationship with your workers they understand and they become partners in managing your mines. But we’ve seen a wave of strikes in the last...

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