Nearly seven years after an unprotected strike at Impala Platinum triggered widespread unrest in the Rustenburg area culminating in the Marikana massacre, has the sector finally turned the corner? Two encouraging trading updates this week from the world’s two biggest miners of the metal — Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala — suggest it might have. Benefiting from higher prices for platinum group metals (PGMs) — in particular palladium, which is trading at record levels — Amplats said it expects 2018 profit to as much as double. Impala saw its share price rise to a 14-month high on Monday after saying it will return to profitability in the first half. This is good news, but it only tells part of the story. Impala is forging ahead with a painful restructuring at its Rustenburg operations, where it plans to cut 13,000 more jobs — mainly through asset sales — to ensure its long-term financial sustainability. Amplats too implemented significant job cuts after the appointment of...

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