Marikana miners back at work but unrest spreads


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Thousands of miners reported for work yesterday at the Marikana platinum complex, ending the strike that led to violent protests in which 46 people died.

Striking workers had reached an agreement with the mine's British owner Lonmin on Tuesday which will see their salaries rise by up to 22 per cent. An investigation is under way into the deaths of the miners, 34 of whom were shot by police.

"We're happy to go to work. We got what we wanted," Yandisa Mehlo told the AFP news agency.However, the industrial unrest has spread to other mines in South Africa, one of the world's biggest producers of precious metals.

On Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters near a mine at Rustenburg owned by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats). There are fears that the Marikana pay deal could encourage other miners across the country to go on unofficial strikes.

Amplats, the world's top producer of platinum, said only one in five of its workers had turned up at its Rustenburg mines.