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Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:19PM
Miners stage a sit-in near the Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on August 15, 2012.

Miners stage a sit-in near the Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on August 15, 2012.

Police officers in South African have opened fire on miners on strike at a platinum mine, leaving an unknown number of people dead. The clashes took place on Thursday, at the Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. Officials say thousands of protesting miners armed with machetes and metal rods had illegally gathered at the mine. South Africa's SAPA news agency says that at least 18 people have been killed in the violence. Police officials have not yet confirmed the death toll. Although the demands of the miners have not been made clear, most of the tension stems from failed talks between leaders of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). As a result of the strike, the mine has halted its production. At least 10 people, including two police officers have been killed since the violence erupted last week. Back in January, at least three people were killed in similar violence, leading to a six-week closure of the mine. South Africa is home to nearly 80 percent of the world’s platinum reserves. SZH/JR
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