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Operations at Lonmin appeared to come to a standstill Tuesday as workers stayed away from the mines, where 96 percent of all Lonmin’s platinum production comes from. The stoppage also has spooked those investing in Lonmin.

While the walkout appeared to be about wages, the ensuing violence has been fueled by the struggles between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. Disputes between the two unions escalated into violence earlier this year at another mine.

Both unions have blamed each other for the strife at the mine at Marikana, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.

Associated Press writer Emoke Bebiak in Johannesburg contributed to this report.