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Miners’ Strike Threatens South African Economy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- The price of the precious metal platinum is up 20 percent in the past month and is expected to rise even more now that the world's largest platinum producer suspended operations at a mine in South Africa. It comes after a tense standoff Wednesday between police and thousands of workers on strike demanding better pay.  

The Anglo American Platinum mine is near another major platinum mine -- the Lonmin Marikana mine -- where 34 people died when police shot at a crowd of armed protestors in August.  It's being called the "Marikana Massacre" in South Africa, and since then labor unrest has spread and now threatens the country's gold industry.  

Police used tear gas Wednesday to disperse a crowd of striking miners at a Gold Fields mine west of Johannesburg.  Workers there are now demanding the same pay increase as the striking platinum miners.  Gold Fields is the world's fourth-largest gold producer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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