AngloGold Ashanti fires 12,000 South African striking miners

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), South Africa's largest gold miner by output, said it has begun dismissing about 12,000 of its striking workers.  On Wednesday Ashanti joined an increasing list of mining companies that have sacked workers in an effort to end crippling strikes.

After AngloGold completes the dismissal process, the amount of miners recently fired in South Africa will surpass the 35,000 mark.

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's top producer of platinum fired 12,000 workers earlier this month, and Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI) fired 8,500 striking miners on Tuesday.

Amplats' decision proved controversial, with South Africa's trade federation now calling members to stage massive street protests in support of the fired workers.

Miners at several other South African mines, such as the 4,000 platinum employees of giant Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, have gone back to or remained on strike.

It was the killing of 34 people at the hands of security forces at Marikana in August what prompted the ongoing strikes.

Lonmin (LON:JSE) eventually gave in to a 22% pay increase, prompting workers at Amplats, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields to make similar wage demands.

Globally South Africa is the fourth largest producer of iron ore, holds the same rank for annual gold production, is number one in platinum output and holds fifth spot for steam coal.

Image is of workers gathering on a hill near the Marikana mine in August.

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