PLATINUM supplies from South Africa, the world’s largest source of the metal, are forecast to fall to their lowest level in 11 years because of strikes at platinum mines.

According to British chemicals and precious metals company Johnson Matthey’s 2012 interim platinum review, South African supplies are predicted to fall 12% to 4.25-million ounces.

The decline stems from the strikes that have shut platinum mines, safety stoppages and the closure of marginal mines by junior companies.

The strikes and safety stoppages accounted for at least 300,000oz, Johnson Matthey said.

Looking ahead to 2013, it said a recovery from South Africa was unlikely.

"As a result of ongoing disruption and possible restructuring of the industry, it is difficult to expect an increase in supplies from South Africa of any great magnitude from the 4.25-million ounces forecast this year," it said.

Platinum prices are forecast to trade between $1,400/oz and $1,800/oz in the next six months, with an average of $1,625/oz.