The world’s biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, has fired 12,000 striking South African miners after a protracted strike over wages.
Amplats said three weeks of illegal strikes by 28,000 workers in Rustenburg had cost it 39,000 ounces in output – or 700m rand ($82.3m; £51m) in revenue.
South African mining has been hit by a wave of wildcat strikes, in which miners and officials have been killed.
Some 34 South African platinum miners were shot dead by police in August.
Explaining its decision on Friday, Amplats said the miners had failed to attend disciplinary hearings and had therefore been dismissed.
Attendance levels of less than 20% meant four of the company’s mining operations in Rustenburg could not operate properly.
Employees would learn the outcome of disciplinary hearings later on Friday, and would have three days to appeal their outcome, said the company.
“Approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence.
Strike “contagion” meant operations had ceased at the Union and Amandelbult (Tumela and Dishaba) mines after workers presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg, added Amplats in a statement.
Gold fields eviction
The workers at the Marikana platinum mine where 34 people were shot dead returned to work after receiving pay rises far higher than the rate of inflation.
A commission of inquiry into the deaths began earlier this week.
Ten other people, including two police officers, were also killed.
Thousands of gold miners and truck drivers are also on strike in South Africa.
On Tuesday, one of the country’s leading gold mines, Gold Fields, evicted 5,000 striking employees from company dormitories, saying they were intimidating fellow workers.