Officials at the Anglo American Platinum mine in South Africa have announced that they will dismiss 12,000 out of 21,000 striking miners they say are engaging in an "illegal strike".
Friday's announcement comes after the body of a mineworker was been found near the mine, located in North West province, according to a strike leader.
Gaddafi Mdoda, one of the miners taking part in the three-week-long Rustenberg strike, said the body belonged to another striker who had died from rubber-coated bullets shot to disperse the protesters on Thursday night.
Neither police nor mine owners have commented on the claim.
Anglo American says the 12,000 dismissed workers failed to turn up to disciplinary hearings which began on Tuesday.
They will have three working days to appeal.
The world's largest platinum producer had been threatening the strikers with the sackings for a week now.
Tumelo Moloyi, a 27-year-old mine worker, said: "We are going to gather anyhow. From now on we don't care whether they shoot at us whether they do anything, we don't care, we'll do anything we want to do."
The striking miners are seeking a raise from what they say is a salary of $500 per month to $2,000.
Over 75,000 South African miners workers, who amount for 15 per cent of the nation's work force, are on strike.
The walkouts began four weeks ago when 15,000 miners walked off the job at the world's fourth largest gold producer, Gold Fields.
On August 16, police shot and killed 34 platinum miners in Marikana, near Rustenburg.
The strikes then spread to coal, diamond, chrome and iron mines.
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|William A. Cook|