The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has agreed ‘in principle’ to end the 21-week strike in South Africa following a fresh wage offer from the world’s three biggest platinum companies, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings and Lonmin.

The platinum companies said in a joint statement that ‘in principle’ undertakings had been reached with the leadership of the AMCU, in respect of wages and conditions of employment.

The strike started on 23 January, when around 70,000 miners stopped work and demanded an increase in the minimum monthly wage to ZAR12,500 ($1,168).

"It’s something that can be sorted out and surely the agreement is eminent."

As per the latest offer, the lowest paid workers will receive a monthly income of ZAR10,000 ($934.9) by 2017.

Meanwhile, AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa was quoted by SABC as saying that what was decided today is to accept the offer in principle.

"Based on some of the issues that still need to be ironed out by the employers…it’s quite a break-through, and those issues I don’t think are the milestone," Mathunjwa said.

"It’s something that can be sorted out and surely the agreement is eminent. There are six points that have been raised, of which I believe that the mine will be able to iron out those issues."

AMCU national treasurer Jimmy Gama said that the final wage offer will ensure that employees receive a minimum increase of R1,000 for A and B-evel employees.

"And 8% for C-level employees on basic salary in year one and year two. And R950 for A and B-level employees and 7.5% for level-C employees for years three to year five, on basic salary."

According to the three platinum companies, the strike has affected their revenues by more than $2bn, while the striking workers have lost nearly $934m in wages.

After the end of the strike, the companies could take around three months to reach to full production and may also cut some jobs under restructuring plans.

The joint statement added that the companies are expecting to receive feedback from AMCU on 13 June, following which a formal agreement will be signed to resume normal work.