"AMCU finally accepted a wage offer Monday to end the protracted strike."
Johannesburg, June 24 - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in South Africa Monday announced an end to the strike that has crippled the country's platinum sector.

AMCU general secretary Jeff Mphahlele made the announcement at a gathering of striking mineworkers in Marikana, a volatile mining area in North West province, Xinhua reported.

The strike, which had lasted for more than five months, was the longest in South Africa's mining history. It had halted 40 percent of the world's platinum production. South Africa is the home to 80 percent of the world's known platinum reserves.

As of Monday, the strike has caused nearly 24 billion rand (about $2.3 billion) in revenue losses and 10.6 billion rand (about $ 1 billion) in employees' earning losses.

The strike also contributed to a 0.6 percent contraction in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of this year, the first decline since the 2009 recession.

Earlier this month, international rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's downgraded South Africa's rating, citing the strike as a major reason.

Talks to end the strike had gone through ups and downs. Last week, AMCU and platinum producers reached an in principle agreement. But the union raised additional demands which were rejected by platinum producers, forcing the talks to drag on until Monday.

AMCU finally accepted a wage offer Monday to end the protracted strike.

Miners are expected to return to work Wednesday.


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