South African fray hasn’t hit UK platinum sales

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PGI UK’s Ruth Donaldson speaks out at UK Jewellery Conference.

PGI UK manager Ruth Donaldson denied on Tuesday that the recent troubles within the South African mining community have affected sales of platinum jewellery in the UK, describing the crisis as more of a political issue than an ethical one.

Donaldson was speaking at the first CMJ UK Jewellery Conference in Birmingham and said that feedback she had received from retailers selling platinum jewellery suggested that sales have been unaffected by the strikes which have ended in the deaths of workers at mines owned by metals companies including Lonmin.

She said: “If you take what is happening abroad it is far more political. It affected the whole mining community, not just platinum.

“As far as I’ve seen, and according to anecdotal information I’ve had back the answer is no [it has not affected sales in the UK].”

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More than 35 miners died at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa, in August as workers’ strikes over pay became violent when police opened fire at a group that appeared to be charging at their lines. Since then smaller eruptions of violence have taken place at mines in South Africa.

Lonmin pledged to support the families of the dead miners and also cancelled its annual party to mark its Design Innovation Awards the following month.

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