Mining Firm Sacks 8,500 Striking Workers
The mining firm Gold Fields has fired 8,500 miners amid the bitter disputes crippling the industry in South Africa.
The company, the world's fourth-largest bullion producer, said it had carried out its threat against strikers at its KDC East mine after they failed to meet a new deadline to return to work.
Spokesman Sven Lunsche said negotiations had failed and the company had issued dismissal notices to employees, who have 24 hours to appeal.
"We have now reached a situation where the mine is becoming economically very marginal - we need to resume production as soon as possible to prevent total closure," he told Sky News.
"We have dismissed the miners, but hopefully they will use the appeal process to come back to work."
The move was described as a "last throw of the dice" by the firm, which says the dispute has cost it more than £107m.
Mr Lunsche said Gold Fields would begin hiring new staff shortly, adding: "We need to resume production, and we need workers who are willing to do that."
Its larger KDC West mine has seen around half the usual staff numbers return to work.
The development is the latest twist in a wider dispute that has left the South African mining industry battling its worst industrial unrest for decades.
More than 80,000 miners have gone on strike since August, hitting growth and investor confidence in the continent's biggest economy.