(Adds minister, stock prices)
JOHANNESBURG, June 3 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is considering a government proposal to resolve a five-month platinum strike and will put it to its members this week, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Tuesday.
“We have responded to the minister’s proposal,” Mathunjwa told Reuters. He did not give details of the recommendations put forward last week by new mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, or AMCU’s response.
However, he said he was encouraged by Ramatlhodi stepping in during his first week in office between AMCU and the three main platinum houses - Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin.
“For the first time we have someone who is willing to help,” Mathunjwa said. “On his first day in office he set aside everything and dealt with this matter. We are encouraged by this.”
Numerous rounds of talks to end what is already the most costly strike in South African mining history have collapsed.
The labour court is currently mediating and Ramatlhodi, who was sworn in as a minister a week ago, has assembled a dedicated government team to negotiate a solution.
“I am encouraged by the progress we have made on this matter, and the cooperation of all parties involved,” the minister said in a statement after the day’s talks.
Shares of platinum producers closed higher in Johannesburg as investors hoped the latest round of talks may finally offer hope that the strike will come to an end.
Amplats closed up 3.4 percent, and Implats had gained 1.8 percent. (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Susan Thomas)