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South African miners reject pay offer

Workers at South Africa's Lonmin platinum mine have rejected a wage offer from the company to end strikes that have spread across the industry.

Workers dismissed Lonmin's offer as "an insult" after it was made to them at the Marikana plant in the Rusten platinum belt.

"The workers rejected the offer," representative Molisi Phele told the news agency AFP of the 986-rand (92 euros, $119) pay increase.

"Lonmin did not respond to the workers' demand. What they [the workers] say is that their offer is an insult," Phele added.

The offer was the first to be made by Lonmin since it was forced to shut down its Marikana operations more than a month ago when unrest between the workers and the world's third largest platinum miners erupted.

The month long strikes exploded into bloodshed, claiming 45 lives, including 34 miners shot dead by police at the site.

The miners who have downed tools say they earn 4,000 rand a month, while Lonmin says its workers earn around 10,000 rand including bonuses and other compensations.

Lonmin warned that an indefinite strike would threaten 40,000 jobs, and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said South Africa faced the possibility of significant employment losses because of the growing unrest.

"We as a country, as an industry, should be focusing on getting solutions going forward because the industry is actually at risk, especially in the operation in the Rustenburg area," Amplats Finance Director Bongani Ngwababa told the local public radio station SAFM.

jlw/mkg (AFP, Reuters, AP)