Sunday 27 October 2013

One worker killed and three others injured at Marikana Platinum Mine, Rustenburg, South Africa.

One worker has been killed and another three injured in an incident at the Marikana Platinum Mine near Rustenburg in North West Province, South Africa, according to mine operators Lonmin. The company has released a statement confirming that the incident was a mining accident, but otherwise released no further details at this time.  The Lonmin mine has been plagued with violence associated with rivalry between two unions, the ANC-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers and the independent Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, for over a year. This is the first mining fatality at the mine since 2010, when a rockfall killed five workers.

Workers underground at the Marikana Mine. Greg Marinovich.

South Africa is the world's largest producer of Platinum, accounting for 77% of global production, and having 80% of the world's known reserves. The Marikana mine alone accounts for 12% of the world's production, with a yearly production target of 750 000 ounces (unlikely to be met this year due to the industrial action). It also produces significant quantities of palladium, rhodium, gold and chromium. The mine is located on the western limb of South Africa's Bushveld Igneous Complex, which outcrops around the edges of the Transvaal Basin and contains some of the Earth's richest mineral deposits, notably of platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium, iron, tin, chromium, titanium and vanadium. It is thought to have formed by the intrusion of metal rich magma into the Earth's crust around 2 billion years ago.

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