Strikes at mines in South Africa may push global platinum production below demand this year, erasing expectations of a surplus, according to TD Securities Inc.

The shortfall in 2012 may be about 200,000 ounces, Bart Melek, the Toronto-based head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said today in a telephone interview. Earlier, he predicted a surplus of 216,000 ounces. Last year, output exceeded demand by 430,000 ounces, he said.

Violent labor unrest in the mining industry intensified this year, starting in January with a stoppage by workers at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., the world’s second-largest producer of the metal. That conflict left four people dead. At least 46 people died during an illegal six-week strike that began Aug. 10 at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana platinum mine, 34 of them killed by police as they tried to disperse protesters.

South Africa may lose output of as much as 600,000 ounces this year, Melek said.

–Editors: Steve Stroth, Patrick McKiernan

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