Key events this year in South Africa's mining industry:
- January 20 - March 5, 2012: A wildcat strike over pay and conditions paralyses the Rustenburg platinum belonging to Impala Platinum. Violence between strikers and non-strikers leads to the deaths of three workers in February. The company fires over 17,000 at the facility, but at the end of the strike re-hires most of them.
- August 12: Clashes break out between supporters of the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), after the launch of a wildcat strike, on the 10th, by rock drill workers at Marikana mine run by British company Lonmin near to Rustenburg.
The miners demand a major pay rise.
- August 14: Police are sent in to the Marikana mine after inter-union rivalry clashes leave 10 dead, including two policemen beaten to death by workers.
- August 16: Police at the Marikana mine open fire on striking workers, some of whom are armed, killing 34 and injuring 78. The shootings evoke memories of the apartheid era brutality, which ended in 1994.
Police arrest a further 270 people on charges including public violence.
- August 23: The country holds a mourning ceremony to mark the deaths at the Lonmin mine. Julius Malema, expelled from the ruling ANC, calls for a "mining revolution" in South Africa.
President Jacob Zuma appoints a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the events at Marikana.
- August 30: A Pulitzer-winning photographer alleges South African police shot dead strikers at the Lonmin mine "in cold blood".
- September 3: Four miners are injured in violence related to another strike, at the Modder East goldmine east of Johannesburg.
- Authorities release the first batch of the 270 Marikana miners in detention since the August 16 shootings. The accused will reappear in court in 2013.
- September 10: Around 15,000 workers down tools at a Gold Fields mine west of Johannesburg, just under a week after a strike ended at another part of the same mine.
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