LONDON (SHARECAST) - The leader of striking platinum miners in South Africa has called for a general strike to "bring mining companies to their knees".
Mametlwe Sebei told a rally of thousands of miners that the general strike would start on Sunday in Rustenburg, the centre of the country's platinum production.
Industrial relations in the South African mining sector are on a knife edge since a protest at Lonmin's Marikana project in August led to 44 people dying after police opened fire on workers.
On Wednesday, Anglo American Platinum, or Amplats, the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, was forced to suspend its operations in South Africa.
Recently militant youth leader Julius Malema addressed miners at the Gold One mine, which is part-owned by Nelson Mandela's grandson, telling them to make it "ungovernable" until the company caved into pay demands.
Mining accounts for about 20% of South Africa GDP and the country is home to 80% of known reserves of platinum.
Platinum prices have risen 15% since the outbreak of violence at Marikana.
Lonmin's shares are down 18% over the last month, while Amplats is down 6% over the same period.