Johannesburg (AFP) - The world's second-biggest platinum producer Impala Platinum will shutter its operations to prevent violence during a planned mass strike, the company said on Wednesday.
Tens of thousands workers in the three leading platinum companies in South Africa have decided to stop work from Thursday, demanding a minimum monthly wage of $1,150.
"We have decided to proactively stop all operations," Impala Platinum (Implats) spokesman Johan Theron told AFP.
The company will close all its mines and smelters "to ensure we mitigate the risk of intimidation and violence as far as possible".
He said: "The safety and security of our employees is our number one concern."
About two thirds of Implats workers are members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the hard-line union which has called the work stoppage.
The company which has stepped up security measures around its operations, said was it difficult to forecast how many workers would support the strike.
The top three global platinum firms Lonmin, Implats and Anglo American Platinum issued a rare joint statement on Tuesday, attempting to persuade as many as 80,000 workers not to down tools.
The platinum mines said that the wage demands were "unaffordable and unrealistic".
Theron said Implat's planned lock-out is a legal process and would last "for as long as is required".
But if enough workers report for duty the company "can always restart some areas of the mines", he added.