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Striking miners with traditional weapons fired at by SA police

The standoff at a South African mine run by platinum producer Amplats has seen police clash with a crowd of men carrying traditional weapons such as spears and machetes.

A police spokesman said tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets were fired to disperse an "illegal gathering" at the mine outside the city of Rustenburg.

It remained unclear whether anyone was injured in the exchange.

The action was understood to have been inspired by the brokering of a new wage deal at a Lonmin mine in Marikana.

South African police fire rubber bullets at mine protesters

The fresh protests came after miners at the Lonmin Marikana mine, pictured celebrating, won a pay rise of up to 22%. Credit: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets today to disperse protesters near a mine run by platinum producer, Amplats.

It's the first sign of unrest spreading after strikers at smaller rival mine, Lonmin won big pay rises. A police spokesman said, "We are not tolerating any illegal activity."

Within hours of Lonmin agreeing to a pay increase of 11 to 22%, workers at neighbouring mines were calling for similar hikes, suggesting more trouble is to come after six weeks of industrial action that has claimed 45 lives and threatened Africa's biggest economy.

Amplats had to suspend its Rustenburg operations last week because of the unrest. Those mines restarted on Tuesday but the company admitted many workers had stayed away.

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Lonmin workers cheer strike settlement

Strike leaders have announced the agreement to return to work. Credit: RTV

Lonmin workers cheered as they learned they will finally return to work on Thursday at the platinum mine in Marikana, which is 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg, with a 22% payrise after six weeks of strikes, Reuters has reported.

World No. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum said it, too, had resumed its operations in the strike-hit Rustenburg area.

South African President Jacob Zuma has estimated that the country's labour unrest has cost the industry 4.5 billion rand (£295 billion).

Workers were pleased to have settled the pay dispute. Credit: APTN

Six women hit by rubber bullets in SA mining row

Police arrive to disperse miners at Lonmin's Marikana mine in South Africa's North West Province Credit: PA

Police have been firing rubber bullets and tear gas in an attempt to herd striking miners into their shacks.

The show of force followed a government vow to halt illegal protests and disarm the strikers who have stopped work at precious metal mines, destabilising the country's critical mining sector.

A man holds a stone while running away from police at Lonmin's Marikana mine Credit: PA

Six women were hit by rubber bullets and one had to be taken to hospital, Anglican bishop Jo Seoka, president of the Council of Churches, warned of serious repercussions and said he was holding the government and Lonmin mine officials responsible describing it as an 'aparteid-era crackdown.'

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Police attempt to disarm South African miners in raid

South African police raided hostels at Lonmin's Karee platinum mine today to disarm miners after government announced a crackdown on "illegal gatherings" and the carrying of weapons.

"The aim of the raid was to disarm the mine workers to make sure that we do away with the elements of threats that are taking their toll in the area of Marikana," regional police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said.

Ngubane said police retrieved weapons such as machetes and spears.

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