UPDATE 1-Striking S.Africa gold miners reject pay rise offer


* Union says options now exhausted

* Platinum output falls 1.9 pct in August

(Adds details and background)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Striking South African goldminers have rejected the industry's latest wage offer, theNational Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday, dimminghopes that wildcat strikes that have paralysed the industrycould come to an end.

"This was a final offer from the companies. They said takeit or leave it," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said. "Now that ithas been rejected our options have been exhausted."

Since August almost 100,000 workers across South Africa -including 75,000 in the mining sector - have downed tools inoften illegal and violent strikes that may hit economic growththis year and undermine investor confidence in the minerals hub.

Africa's top two bullion producers AngloGold Ashanti

and Gold Fields have been hit by an estimated48,000 miners taking to the streets fighting for higher wages.

The wildcat strikes, which started in the platinum industryand spread to other mining companies and beyond, have raisedquestions about President Jacob Zuma's leadership and tarnishedSouth Africa's reputation among foreign investors.

Production of platinum group metals fell 1.9 percent inAugust compared to the same month last year, data showed onThursday, a sign the unrest was taking its toll on Africa'sbiggest economy.

Gold output still rose 0.4 percent in August as the strikesonly spread to bullion the following month.

The rand fell to a 3-1/2 year low against thedollar earlier this week and Moody's cut South Africa'sgovernment bond rating last month, citing the government'sdifficulty in keeping up with spreading unrest.

(Reporting by Sherilee Lakmidas, Agnieszka Flak and TiisetsoMotsoeneng; editing by David Dolan)

((agnieszka.flak@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775 3154)(ReutersMessaging: agnieszka.flak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))