(Adds detail, gives background)
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 11 (Reuters) - One person was killed and
part of South Africa's Royal Bafokeng Platinum's (RBPlat)
conveyor belt was burnt during overnight protests at
one of its shafts in the country's North West Province, the
platinum producer said on Thursday.
Social and labour violence, soaring costs and depressed
world platinum prices have hurt South Africa's platinum industry
and threatened its profitability.
RBPlat said on Thursday that an individual within a crowd of
more than 100 protesters, who attempted to access its premises
at its North Shaft on Wednesday night, was killed by live
ammunition fired from someone in the group of protestors.
The protest was against recent staff dismissals and the
company said its security had tried to disperse the crowd with
rubber bullets and paint-balls.
Protesters also set fire to a conveyor belt, burning around
200 metres, and damaging a boom gate and guard house, the
company said, adding it could not yet estimate the cost of the
"Activity that takes place on the conveyer belt will be
affected but the mining operations will continue," said RBPlat
spokesman Mpueleng Pooe.
The protest, which included former employees as well as
unknown persons, stemmed from the dismissal of 14 employees last
month, following a wildcat strike, the company said.
RBPlat said there had been no protests on Thursday but it
would remain vigilant. The incident has been reported to the
police and an investigation has begun, the company said.
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Susan
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