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South African miners reject Lonmin pay offer

Wildcat strikers at a platinum mine in South Africa that has been the site of a deadly standoff have rejected a pay offer from the owners. The offer from mining firm Lonmin came in well below the number the workers have been demanding. (SOUNDBITE) (Xhosa) WORKERS REPRESENTATIVE, MOLIFI PHELE, WITH MAN STANDING ON HIS RIGHT TRANSLATING, SAYING: "We are not interested, what he is offering cannot buy you anything. All we want is 12,500 rand." The pay offer is the first formal proposal put forward by the platinum producer during the five week strike. Last month, 34 miners were killed by police during a tense standoff which has poisoned industrial relations across the sector. Established unions had been pushing for more modest increases, but this breakaway group say that approach is too timid. The price of platinum has spiked more than 20 percent since the shootings in South Africa, which is home to 80 percent of known supplies. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters

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