Glencore closes Eland platinum mine in South Africa, cuts 818 jobs

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Global miner and commodities trader Glencore has closed its Eland platinum mine in South Africa resulting in 818 job losses due to falling prices and difficult operating conditions, it said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Gugulethu Maqetuka said Eland, in North West province, had been placed on "care and maintenance" - meaning that although the mine is closed there is the potential to restart production at a later date.

Glencore, whose shares have fallen around 60 percent this year on worries about falling commodity prices as well as its debt burden, said in August it was considering closing the mine.

Platinum is down almost 40 percent from last year's peak and on Friday hit a seven-year low on fears of a drop in demand for diesel cars after Volkswagen admitted rigging diesel emissions tests.

Eland produced 35,000 ounces of platinum metals in the first quarter of this year, Glencore said in May.

The South African mining industry is under pressure from low prices and rising metals, forcing companies to close shafts and cut jobs to survive.

This prompted the mining industry, unions and government to sign a broad plan in August to stem the wave of job cuts, with little impact so far.

The Eland closure leaves Glencore with Mototolo mine in Limpopo province, now its only platinum asset in South Africa, which it jointly owns with Anglo American Platinum.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by James Macharia and Susan Thomas)