Here’s more bullish precious metals news to add to the ongoing, almost daily record palladium price levels occurring.
News out of South Africa indicates the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will go on strike next week at Sibanye-Stillwater‘s platinum operations.
Sibanye is a top global producer of platinum, palladium, and gold.
At Sibanye-Stillwater, some 15,000 gold miners are already on strike, and it looks like the palladium and platinum miners are on their heels.
Here’s more of the details from the African News Agency:
JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Monday, gave notice of its intention to embark on secondary strike action at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations around Rustenburg in support of the current strike at the mine’s gold operations on the West Rand and in the Free State.
About 15 000 Amcu members have been on strike at Sibanye’s gold operations Kloof, Beatrix and Driefontein mines since November 22, 2018, refusing a three-year wage agreement signed by the mine and three other unions and demanding a R1 000 annual wage increase for the next three years.
On Monday, Amcu sent an official notice to Sibanye-Stillwater indicating that it will be embarking on secondary strike action from next week Tuesday, 22 January 2019.
This secondary strike will mean that about 12 500 Amcu members employed at Sibanye’s platinum operations will join their estimated 15 000 comrades from the same company’s gold operations.
Palladium Shortage Ongoing?
We have been talking about a palladium shortage for some time now.
Mining expert, Dave Jensen, has been on our weekly Metals & Markets podcast thoroughly explaining how the scramble for actual physical palladium bullion is beginning to blow up the paper palladium market in London (LBMA):
Time will tell, but one thing is certain – this strike is like yet another flaming sword that the western paper price derivative cartel will have to juggle in order to maintain the price rigging and control of the paper precious metals markets.
What is this latest South African mining strike about?
Getting to the crux of the two strikes, here’s the AMCU’s President explaining:
In case you didn’t, the President of the AMCU said they [the CEOs of the mining companies] “prefer to replace black mine workers [those who die working in the mines] because it’s cheaper”.
The point is that in addition to working conditions, this strike is also turning into an issue about race, and if you have been following the news coming out of South Africa in the last year, you will recall that race has become a hot-topic issue as the African nation goes down the path of land grabs from white land owners.
It should also be noted that strikes at mines in South Africa have turned deadly in the recent past. In 2012, police shot 112 striking miners and killed 34 of them in what has become known as the Marikana Massacre.
What can we extrapolate from this latest news?
If supplies of palladium have been tight, which supplies have been, or, as many suspect, if there are current, real-time problems of meaningful physical shortages of palladium, it certainly appears that supply will come under even more strain in the coming weeks.
So here’s the question: Can the cartel keep the illusion going with with all of this uncertainty and potential supply disruptions that are coming down the pike?
Well thankfully for the cartel, it’s only palladium that’s becoming difficult to source.
That is, it’s only palladium that we know about.
So here’s another question: How close are we to seeing physical gold and physical silver blowing-up the paper markets?
With each separate fundamental and technical issue building and compounding on one another, regardless of how close we are right now, we’re much closer than we were before.
When the paper markets finally “blow-up”, it won’t be like setting a house on fire and watching it burn down.
It will be like dropping the MOAB on some poorly constructed shanty house.
With some Rod of God thrown-in for good measure.
You know, just to be sure it blows.
Instant total annihilation.
– Half Dollar
About the Author
U.S. Army Iraq War Combat Veteran Paul “Half Dollar” Eberhart has an AS in Information Systems and Security from Western Technical College and a BA in Spanish from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Paul dived into gold & silver in 2009 as a natural progression from the prepper community. He is self-studied in the field of economics, an active amateur trader, and a Silver Bug at heart.