A major South African union says its tens of thousands of members will strike at platinum and gold mines this week, raising concerns of more damage to Africa's leading economy which has been hit hard by labor unrest.

The strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is scheduled to begin Thursday. Analysts say the protest could affect more than half of the platinum production in South Africa, the world's leading producer.

The Eurasia Group, an international consultancy, says it expects the strikes to last at least two weeks.

The protest for higher wages will affect major platinum operations run by the Lonmin, Anglo American and Impala firms.

In 2012, police shot and killed several dozen miners during labor unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in the Marikana area.