Anglo American and AngloGold chide South Africa strikers

Striking platinum miners earlier this month The strike at AngloGold is the most recent to hit the mining sector in South Africa

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Two big mining firms have hardened their stance on strikers in South Africa, where illegal stoppages have spread across the country.

The world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, said it would sack strikers who did not attend disciplinary hearings on Tuesday.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti said it would downsize if strikes continued.

About 24,000 AngloGold workers in South Africa have been taking part in the wildcat action over pay.

AngloGold's chief executive Mark Cutifani said in a statement that if the strike continued, there were "risks of a premature downsizing".

"We have to protect the long-term viability of the business," he added.

Miners at the platinum firm Lonmin returned to work last month after a separate strike over wages.

On Monday, an official inquiry opened into the killing by police of 34 people at Lonmin's Marikana mine in August.

A separate strike is continuing at another mining firm, GoldFields, which is the world's fourth-largest gold miner.

In all, about 75,000 miners are currently on strike in the gold and platinum sectors, most of them illegally, analysts say.

South Africa is one of the world's biggest miners of precious metals.

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