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Meltdown In Gold Industry Threatens South Africa

South Africa faces a major crisis as the worldwide plunge in the price of gold hits the industry. More than 80,000 of the 300,000 jobs in South Africa's mines are at risk. That could have a ripple effect on the rest of the southern Africa's economy because 10 people depend on the salary of each miner, many of whom are migrant workers from neighboring countries. Gold has recently been trading at a 20-year low of $260 an oz, a $30 drop since the start of the year. So far no mines have been closed. But Tony Twine, senior economist at the Econometrix consulting firm in Johannesburg, says, "Many of them will soon be basket cases. The world needs gold for industrial use. The mining industry will survive. However, the casualty toll is going to be heavy."

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