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'Unions not behind Lonmin strike'

Operations were suspended at 13 shafts after miners refused to go underground.

FILE: Lonmin miners make their way through Marikana. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - Both the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have denied responsibility for Tuesday's wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Operations were suspended at 13 shafts at the North West platinum operation after miners refused to go underground.

Instead, workers gathered at the koppie in Marikana.

The protest comes after three people were murdered at the weekend, including Amcu's regional chairperson.

It is still not clear why the miners are protesting.

The rival unions denied calling on workers to strike.

Some miners indicated the issue was about union office space and wanted mine bosses to recoginise Amcu as the majority union.

Workers also want Num offices to be shut down.

Union leaders are now locked in talks with mine management.

In August 2012, 34 miners were gunned down during a confrontation with police in the same area.

President Jacob Zuma then set up an inquiry to determine whether police were justified in using lethal force on demonstrators.

In total, 44 people lost their lives during last year's illegal strike in Marikana.

The world's third-largest primary platinum producer Lonmin on Monday revealed that first-half pre-tax profit rose to $54 million.

The company also lifted its production outlook for 2013.

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