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Third platinum mine shut in S. Africa

JOHANNESBURG — A third platinum mine closed in South Africa on Friday, even as police moved to disperse the strikers outside.

The effort to remove the strikers was launched within hours of the government ­vowing to end violence spreading in the crucial ­mining sector.

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Xstrata Platinum Ltd said it temporarily suspended operations at Kroondal mine ‘‘to ensure the safety and security of employees and assets’’ amid the increasing tensions.

The mine employs 5,300 workers, who apparently were threatened by strikers from Anglo-American Platinum who had massed outside.

The South African Press Association said police arrested at least one striker who was herded by a helicopter ­into the arms of officers on the ground.

It is the first time police acted against protesters since they killed 34 strikers Aug. 16 at Lonmin platinum mine.

Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s justice minister, threatened earlier in the day to use more force against the striking ­miners.

Radebe told reporters the government will no longer tolerate protests in which miners brandish machetes, knives, spears, and clubs. Such marches have become daily events in the Lonmin mine strike, which is in its fifth week.

Radebe refused to say whether officers will be allowed to use live ammunition.

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