Pay dispute leads to tragedy at South African platinum mine.
By Craig Heatly
The jewellery industry is mourning furthers deaths with the news that 36 mine workers were killed during clashes with police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine last Thursday.
Two police officers were also killed with a further 78 were injured at the strike at the Marikana platinum mine, located 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg. The men were striking over pay disputes and were believes to be armed with machetes and sticks.
Police shot at the striking group when they appeared to be running toward a police line.
Reuters captured footage of the firing police officers. A week of unrest had preceded the shootings, with four workers shot during a walkout and two police “hacked to death”.
During last week’s unrest the platinum prices soared to $30 (£19) per ounce.
South African president Jacob Zuma said: “I have instructed law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book”.
He added that he was “shocked and dismayed” at what has been reported to have been one of the bloodiest incidents involving the police since 1994.
Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, has shut down all South African operations. The company has reported losing an equivalent of 15,000 ounces of platinum over the past six days.
It is believed that workers have begun returning to the mine today after Lonmin threatened about 3,000 striking workers with dismissal if they did show up to the mine.