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On Aug. 16, 2012, the summertime sun streamed through the leafy canopy of central London’s Green Park and into the windows of the headquarters of platinum mine company Lonmin PLC. But 8,800 km away there was a chill in the air as the company’s biggest South African mine became a frenzy of activity.

Striking workers had gathered for the eighth day in a row at the Marikana mine, while media crews watched from nearby. Four thousand rounds of live ammunition were delivered and ambulances rolled ominously into place. As the cameras flashed, Zukiswa Mbombo, police chief of North West province, announced: “Today is D-day: we are ending this matter.”

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