New body found at Lonmin's mine; miners refuse to go back to work

The body of a man slashed to death was found Tuesday at Lonmin’s (LON:JSE) Marikana platinum mine in South Africa's North West province, where a protracted wildcat strike has cost the life to 44 people, AFP is reporting.

"It's unclear exactly when he was killed. The miners appeared to be hostile, but they've ignored the body lying a few metres (yards) away," said the unidentified source.

Police told AFP they had not received any information about the body.

Meanwhile, the thousands of workers on strike at Marikana said they would defy an extended deadline to return to work. Family, friends and supporters have joined the protesters in a display of solidarity, as a government-backed effort to negotiate a deal between management, unions and miners failed.

Fuelled by local leaders, such as firebrand politician Julius Malema, who called all the South African miners Tuesday to go on a national strike, the world's third largest platinum mine workers said they are poised to stand still until the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leadership steps down.

South Africa generates nearly $10 billion a year from the mining of platinum group metals (PGMs – platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium) for their value as an investment and as industrial materials.

It has almost 80% of the world’s known PGM reserves (over 2 billion ounces) and produces over 4.5m oz of platinum a year (75% of the global supply) and about 4m oz a year of the other PGMs.

The mining industry accounts for 6% of the nations’ gross domestic product, but the sector is becoming a symbol of the economic, social and political differences that continue to characterize the country.

Photo from AlJazeera via YouTube