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Platinum miner aims to dig up $1bn of cash

Crisis-hit platinum miner Lonmin is gearing up for a $1bn rights issue to repair its ailing balance sheet just days after violence pushed the death toll at its Marikana mine in South Africa to 44.

The company, once part of Tiny Rowland's Lonhro conglomerate, has been forced to shut down Marikana after wildcat strikes over pay and conditions ten days ago. Riot police opened fire on knife-wielding strikers, sending its shares slumping.

Lonmin was already months away from breaching its banking covenants before the mine closure, according to mining sector analysts. A collapse in the price of platinum, because of falling demand from European carmakers, has seen the group's profits plunge. Platinum is a key ingredient in the manufacture of emissions-reducing catalytic convertors.