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Sibanye Gold shuts Cooke mine after union violence

Two NUM members were reportedly attacked by members of Amcu.

Sibanye Gold's Cooke 1 shaft. Picture: sibanyegold.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG - Work at Sibanye Gold's South African Cooke mine has been suspended after two members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were left in a critical condition after being attacked, a spokesman for the company said on Tuesday.

"We cannot have the mines operating when we cannot guarantee the safety of our workers. No one went underground last night and no shifts began this morning," Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted said.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the miners were attacked by members of the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in a dispute over union numbers. Amcu officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The incident is the latest flare-up between the unions. The arch rivals have been locked in a turf war which has killed dozens since Amcu dislodged NUM as the dominant union on South Africa's platinum belt in 2012.

In the first half of 2016, the three working shafts at Cooke produced around 100,000 ounces of gold, about 13.5% of the group's total gold production.