Lonmin reports fresh violence at its South African mines

Intimidation of workers reported at mines as only one in 10 of 28,000-strong workforce defy strike

Violence has spread to the other operations of the world’s No 3 platinum producer Lonmin, the company has said, raising concerns of further unrest after 44 people were killed this month in a labour dispute at its Marikana mine near Johannesburg, South Africa.

“There have been incidents of intimidation towards bus drivers overnight as well as intimidation of Eastern Platinum’s workers this morning, preventing them from coming to work,” Lonmin said.

Lonmin, where most operations have been suspended for two weeks by a wage strike among around 3,000 of its workers, also said just over one in 10 of its 28,000-strong workforce had shown up for work on Monday morning, far short of the numbers needed to start mining ore.

The trade union Solidarity, which represents skilled workers, also reported high levels of intimidation.

In another development, workers at another South African mine run by Eastern Platinum were reportedly blocked from going to work on Monday by colleagues, the National Union of Mineworkers said.

Lonmin is racing to resume ore extraction across its operations without a guarantee that striking workers will return to work this week after the end of a mourning period for colleagues killed in the recent wave of labour unrest.

The violence stems from a bloody turf war between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the small but militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has been spreading its influence through the mining sector.

Lonmin has also said it may issue new shares to shore up a balance sheet affected badly by lost production and revenue.

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