LONDON  - British mining group Lonmin on Monday cut its platinum sales forecasts, blaming the move on the ongoing strike at its Marikana mine in South Africa which has been blighted by violence.

London-listed Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, said in a statement that it expected annual sales of between 685,000-700,000 ounces of platinum. That compared with its previous prediction of 750,000 ounces. “Lonmin announces that as a result of the ongoing illegal strike at its Marikana operations... it now expects sales for the full year ending 30 September 2012 to be in the range of between 685,000 and 700,000 saleable ounces of platinum,” read the statement. “Unit costs will also be negatively impacted and as a result we expect the guidance of an 8.5-percent increase in unit costs for the full year to be exceeded.”

The company added that “violence and intimidation” had prevented many of the group’s workers from returning to the mine.

“Mining activity at Marikana remains minimal, although all shafts are operational. “Sadly, violence and intimidation have continued particularly in the last week and prevented many of our employees from returning to work during the period of the illegal strike,” Lonmin said. South Africa’s mines have in recent weeks been hit by unrest following a wildcat strike at the Marikana platinum mine that has so far claimed 45 lives.

The group on Monday said it remained “committed” to securing a “peaceful solution.”

Lonmin added that it “condemns violence and intimidation and is committed to finding a peaceful solution to the current illegal strike.”

Acting chief executive Simon Scott warned that the strike could spark more job losses at the mine.

“Clearly... there will be consequences to jobs if there is a continuing delay in returning to production.

“The situation is delicate but we have limited options in terms of managing the trade-off between lost production, higher wages and business rationalisation, including a significant reduction in jobs,” he added.