Platinum ended July down $23 for the month. Metal prices at the beginning of August remained weak and the metal slid below the $1,400 level to $1,390 on August 3, a 2012 low.

A labor dispute at Lonmin’s (LSE:LMI) Marikana mine in South Africa has since reignited the momentum in the platinum market. The situation, which resulted in the loss of 44 lives, prompted a rise above the $1,500 mark. Platinum has maintained a price above that level since August 22, touching a month-to-date high of $1,560 on August 23.

TD Securities said it will remain upbeat on platinum as long as production is halted at Marikana.

The site is currently peaceful and some miners have returned to work, although at last report full staffing levels had not been achieved.

Standard Bank estimates that as of August 27, 60,000 to 70,000 ounces of platinum production have been lost.

Low platinum prices during the first seven months of the year appear to have attracted interest from China’s jewelers. Platinum sales on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) through July were up 4 percent year-on-year. SGE platinum purchases are considered a gauge of the appetite of China’s jewelry industry.