Lonmin shares slide as SA death toll rises

August 17, 2012
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Police surround miners killed during clashes/AFP
LONDON, Aug 17 – Shares in Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, slumped almost six percent Friday in London as violence at a Lonmin mine in South Africa resulted in the killing of more than 30 people.

Lonmin shares tumbled 5.84 percent to 610.13 pence in morning deals on London’s second tier FTSE 250 index. The stock has slumped 37 percent since the start of the year.

Dozens of people have died in clashes between police and workers over a wildcat strike at the platinum mine, a South African minister said Friday.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said more than 30 people had died, adding: “A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up.”

The illegal strike began a week ago and quickly descended into deadly clashes, first between rival unions and then between workers and police.

Lonmin on Thursday insisted that police and not the company were responsible for security at the mine.

“We are treating the developments around police operations… with the utmost seriousness,” Lonmin chairman Roger Phillimore said in a statement.

“The South African Police Service have been in charge of public order and safety on the ground since the violence between competing labour factions erupted over the weekend, claiming the lives of eight of our employees and two police officers,” he said.

“It goes without saying that we deeply regret the further loss of life in what is clearly a public order rather than labour relations associated matter.”

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