*Gold companies' shares drop, rand also under pressure. JOHANNESBURG, May 20- Big wage hikes demanded by the government-allied trade union in South Africa's coal and gold industries helped push the rand to a four-year low on Monday, highlighting the ripple effect of the prospect of more turmoil in the industry.» Read More
*Gold breaks resistance at $1,678/ oz, eyeing $1,701- technicals. SINGAPORE, Jan 16- Gold inched up on Wednesday towards a near two-week high hit in the previous session on expectations easy global monetary policies will continue, while platinum took a breather after rising for six straight sessions to a three-month peak.
SINGAPORE, Jan 16- London copper steadied on Wednesday from two-week lows hit the session before, after a pick-up in U.S. consumer spending bolstered risk appetite, although sluggish global growth prospects kept a lid on prices.
SINGAPORE, Jan 16- Gold inched up on Wednesday towards a near two-week high hit in the previous session, while platinum took a breather after rising for six straight sessions to a three-month peak. *Spot gold had climbed 0.3 percent to $1,683.60 an ounce by 0025 GMT, just off Tuesday's high of $1,684.90.
Platinum rose to a three-month high on Tuesday, rallying for a sixth straight session as funds bought heavily due to a mine labor crisis in South Africa that sparked supply fears.
NEW DELHI/ MUMBAI, Jan 16- India's passion for gold is putting such a strain on state finances that the government may slap higher import taxes on the precious metal, but demand buoyed by heady inflation and meagre savings will blunt the impact of any rise in duties.
NEW YORK, Jan 15- U.S. "There is always a big boom in the new year when the new issue comes out, and you will see a drop in the next month," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of online precious-metals exchange BullionVault. As of Jan. 15, silver Eagle sales for the month exceeded 5 million ounces, data from the U.S.
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*Labour leaders threaten strikes after plan. *Khuseleka, Khomanani mines mothballed, Union for sale. JOHANNESBURG, Jan 15- Anglo American Platinum plans to mothball two South African mines, sell another and cut 14,000 jobs, risking a repeat of last year's violent strikes as the world's largest producer of the metal struggles to halt losses.
By Jan Harvey and Clara Denina. LONDON, Jan 15- Platinum hit a three-month high on Tuesday, extending recent gains, after top global producer Anglo American Platinum said it would mothball two South African mines and sell another, cutting output by around 400,000 ounces annually.
Jan 15- Here is a look at troubles at Anglo American Platinum, also known as Amplats, the world's top platinum producer, after it said it would mothball two South African mines, sell another and cut 14,000 jobs. July 22, 2012- Neville Nicolau announces his resignation as chief executive at Amplats.
LONDON, Jan 15- British exploration firm IGas Energy has received interest from some of the oil industry's biggest names to look for shale gas in the UK, its chief executive said, amid growing demand to develop the country's unconventional resources. Exxon Mobil was linked with IGas in December over a possible partnership.
LONDON, Jan 15- Copper prices hit two week lows on Tuesday as investors grew concerned about a looming battle in Washington over the government's borrowing limit, and about the cloudy outlook for demand from top consumer China.
*Palladium reaches highest since March 2012. LONDON, Jan 15- Platinum prices rallied to three-month highs on Tuesday after the number one producer of the metal, Anglo American Platinum, said it would mothball two South African mines and sell another, cutting output by around 400,000 ounces.
LONDON, Jan 15- Copper prices fell on Tuesday to a two-week low, dragged down by a slight rebound in the dollar against the euro, with uncertainty about the outlook for demand from top consumer China also weighing on prices.
Ker Chung Yang, senior investment analyst at Phillip Futures expects 2013 to be the return of a China play again, especially in the base metal commodity.
*To close four shafts in the platinum belt, sell Union mine. JOHANNESBURG, Jan 15- Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, said it will mothball two South African mines, sell another and cut 14,000 jobs in moves to restore profits that may provoke a repeat of last year's strikes when about 50 people died.
*Coming up; Germany 2012 GDP at 0800 GMT. SINGAPORE, Jan 15- London copper slunk back to two-week lows on Tuesday as the dollar gained against the euro and wiped out an early rally after the U.S.
*Spot gold neutral in $1,653- $1,678 range- technicals. News that Anglo American Platinum, the world's top platinum producer, would indefinitely close four of its shafts in South Africa's platinum belt and sell its Union mine sent platinum up 2.1 percent to a three-month high of $1,691 an ounce.
Paul Renken, senior geologist at VSA Capital, tells CNBC that Rio Tinto figures have surprised on the upside, suggesting some demand for iron ore.
SYDNEY, Jan 15- Global miner Rio Tinto aims to boost iron ore output by 15 percent this year after production in 2012 climbed to 253 million tonnes, beating its own guidance, as resurgent Chinese demand drives a price recovery.