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One-third of Lonmin miners at work after S.Africa clashes

One-third of miners signed in on Tuesday at the Lonmin platinum mine where 44 people have died in a wildcat strike, the company said after it softened an ultimatum to return to the job.

“Lonmin attendance is 33 percent across the board at this stage,” a company spokeswoman said in a text message.

The “situation is calm,” she added.

The world’s third-largest platinum miner had warned the 3,000 rock drill operators on an illegal strike that they could face dismissal if they failed to report back to the job early Tuesday, but later backed off the threat.

About 19.5 percent of rock drill operators came to work Tuesday, the company said.

Lonmin has also urged the other 25,000 employees at the mine to come back, insisting they will be safe.

Ten people were killed in inter-union clashes after the strike began on August 10, leading to a police crackdown Thursday that saw officers gun down 34 armed miners.

On Monday, about 27 percent of the workforce reported for duty.