South Africa mining unrest threatens to spread

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South Africa mining unrest threatens to spread

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In South Africa, police have dispersed protestors gathering at a mine run by the world’s biggest platinum producer. It is the first sign that unrest might spread after strikers at the nearby Marikana mine won large pay rises.

Anger brewed as news filtered through of wage increases of up to 22 percent being agreed with Marikana’s operators Lonmin.

At Marikana, though, the mood was more one of celebration than protest.

Jubilant workers gathered at the site 100 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg.

But this has become more than a row over wages.
It is being painted as a victory for the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over the dominant NUM – an ally of the governing African National Congress.

46 people died in the six-week long dispute – most notably 34 protesting miners shot dead by police at a rally in August.

The crisis has prompted intense criticism of the government by the opposition and media.