South Africa: Police shoot rubber bullets at Harmony Gold mine protest


Former South African miner Vuyisile Gibson stands on November 8, 2011 in his mud hut near the town of Tsolo in the Eastern Cape province. He is undergoing tests to see whether his poor health is due to decades of breathing dust while working in Anglo American gold mines. Silicosis is caused by inhaling gold mining dust and can rest dormant for years before permanently scarring the lungs.


Rodger Bosch

South African police fired rubber bullets into another gold mine protest today, Reuters reported.The workers were protesting outside of a mine run by Harmony Gold, causing the company to close a day early for the Christmas season. The protest broke out after 600 employees who had gone on strike on December 15 were suspended. 

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"We have made it clear that no violence will be tolerated and to ensure the safety of our employees it has become imperative to close the shaft until the labor issues have been resolved," Tom Smith, Harmony's chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal

South Africa has seen major labor unrest this year, and growing inequality and poor living conditions are to blame, the WSJ said. In the "Marikana massacre" from August, police shot and killed 34 miners.