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South African Mine Strike Talks Deadlocked

FILE - Police officers stand outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg, South Africa, May 14, 2014.
South Africa's government has pulled out of mediation efforts between major platinum producers and striking workers, saying the talks are deadlocked.

Mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi abandoned his mediation role Monday after a deadline passed for the two sides to reach an agreement.

About 70,000 workers at three of South Africa's largest platinum mines have been on strike for five months, demanding higher wages.

The mines at Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin normally account for about 40 percent of global platinum output.

South Africa's government stepped in last month to try to break the deadlock following several rounds of failed negotiations between the companies and the mine workers.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is demanding a minimum wage of about $1,200 (R12,500).

AMCU was involved in South Africa's most violent industrial action in recent history, with a two-month illegal strike it launched in 2012. That strike reached fever pitch on August 16 of that year, when South African police shot dead 34 of the strikers.