UK-based mining companies with stakes in South Africa fear ethnic violence could break out in the nation following the murder of a far-right politician last week.
White supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche was killed on the same day the African National Congress (ANC) called for the nationalisation of South Africa’s foreign-owned mines.
The country’s major mines are dominated by UK-listed companies including Anglo American, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Xstrata, which now fear a backlash following the death of Terreblanche.
According to a report in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said South Africa’s mines should be returned to black ownership.
Analysts predict that widespread violence could impact on production, potentially increasing some commodity prices.
South Africa holds 85% of the world’s platinum reserves, 80% of its manganese reserves and 73% of chrome stocks along with significant reserves of gold, zirconium and titanium.