World Bulletin/News Desk
Two South African mines reopened on Monday after labour strife forced them to suspend operations last week, but striking miners vowed to keep operations run by world No. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) shut.
Wage talks were set to resume in a bid to end a violent 5-week strike that has killed 45 people around the Marikana mine of platinum producer Lonmin, bringing its production to a halt and pushing up the price of the precious white metal.
The unrest has its roots in a bloody turf war for members between an upstart union and the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) but it is now unclear who the strikers are taking their direction from.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets over the weekend as part of an operation to disarm miners, implementing the government's decision to get tough on strikes that choked off platinum output in the world's top producer. The army has also been brought in to help restore order.
Aquarius Platinum's Kroondal mine and Xstrata's chrome operation near the platinum belt city of Rustenburg restarted on Monday. Aquarius' shares in Johannesburg were up more than 12 percent by 1200 GMT.
Amplats said work at its Rustenburg mines would resume on Tuesday, a move dismissed by one workers' representative as a "joke". The unrest and illegal strikes have spread from Marikana to Rustenburg along the restive platinum belt.
"For us, the reality is that the general strike is on," Mametlwe Sebei, a self-styled Rustenburg community leader and Marxist politician, told Reuters. "We are going to be demonstrating in defiance. We will not be intimidated."
Amplats management was "whistling in the dark" if it believed the mines would reopen on Tuesday, he said.
"They can deploy the army, they can be shooting people, shooting old men in their shacks, tear gassing young kids ... but let us be clear, there will be repercussions," he said.
A spokesman for Xstrata Alloys said miners returning to work in Rustenburg on Monday had been subjected to intimidation by striking colleagues and that the atmosphere remained tense.
"As our employees were coming to work, there has been intimidation which is all over Rustenburg," said Christopher Tsatsawane said.
Xstrata and other platinum mines in the area have been hit by wildcat strikes since police killed 34 miners at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on Aug. 16. All of Lonmin's mines remain closed.
South Africa is home to 80 percent of known reserves of platinum, the price of which has gained nearly 20 percent since the Marikana shootings, the bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994. The sector accounts for 6 percent of South Africa's economy, the biggest in Africa.
Police raided a Lonmin hostel on Saturday and seized spears, machetes and other weapons from strikers. They later used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse groups of protesters.
Lonmin said mining activity at Marikana remained minimal and lowered its full-year production guidance to between 685,000 and 700,000 saleable ounces from 750,000 ounces.
Lonmin said on Monday it was temporarily closing its K4 shaft. That ends a contract with construction group Murray & Roberts that supplied about 1,200 staff to that shaft.
On Friday, workers at the mine dismissed an initial Lonmin offer as way below the 12,500 rand ($1,500) a month sought by members of the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which is challenging the influence of the more established NUM.
Lonmin, which is offering increases of between 9 and 21 percent, said 12,500 rand would put thousands of jobs at risk and challenge the viability of the business.
The ruling African National Congress has become increasingly worried about the impact of the unrest on the wider economy.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said it could be "extremely damaging", although in an interview with Reuters on Sunday he said there was no need yet to revise the outlook for the country's fiscal performance for this year.
The ANC criticised companies for paying lip service to the mining charter, which seeks to give workers and communities a bigger share of mineral wealth and rectify disparities of white apartheid rule by improving their living and working conditions.
"Mining remains the bedrock of the South African economy, and yet the abject poverty and squalor surrounding mining areas remains a matter of deep concern," it said in a statement.
"The current instability at Marikana thus poses challenges to the growth of the sector and the international image of the country," the ANC said.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said wreckage of the flight had been spotted in his country's far north, toward the Algerian border between the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
Spanish judicial authorities have sought the arrest and questioning of three U.S. soldiers accused of involvement in Spanish cameraman Jose Couso's death
The head of the Dutch police mission in Ukraine said it was difficult to get access to the site to look for more of the remains of the victims, many of whom were Dutch.
Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February 2013, and Razvozhayev were accused of coordinating the protests which turned violent on May 6, 2012
The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution 10 days ago that authorized aid access at four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan
More than 50 people have died so far in the violence that has deepened fears post-war Libya is slipping into lawlessness
Russia has in the past denied it is directly involved with the rebellion in its western neighbor, but the United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of arming and encouraging the uprising
"Gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept," said the U.S. official
Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Pools of blood lay on the ground and on students' desks in the courtyard of the school near the apparent impact mark of the shell,
More than 75,000 made the trip in the first six months of the year, landing up in Italy, Greece, Spain and Malta, the UNHCR agency said. Their number included 10,500 children
The commander of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea last month said he had proposed deploying a THAAD advanced missile-defence system to the country
Politicians and activists have complained that while Ukraine has a new president, it has yet to elect a new parliament since the toppling of pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich
Female asylum seekers with infants recently asked for bigger rooms so their children can learn to walk and crawl, as they are currently "confined in the extreme heat" in metal containers measuring 3m by 3m.
Shortly before the trial, Evans made a deal with prosecutors and admitted he had carried out more than 1,000 hacks involving some 200 victims
Ban's meeting with Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric's vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarising figure