North West - Two Lonmin security guards have been killed in an attack on the mine's Western Platinum operations, in North West, the company said.

Six people were also injured in violence and intimidation, which started on Friday after an illegal work stoppage and protest march by about 3000 Lonmin rock drill operators, Lonmin said in a statement late on Sunday.

“The company immediately requested the support of the SA Police Services (SAPS) to try and contain the violence in support of its own security procedures.”

The company said Friday's protest had “quickly spiralled into criminal actions by rival factions” and was followed by suspected inter-union conflict, with intimidation and violence against employees who wanted to report for duty.

Four employees were injured when they tried to report for work on Friday. Two of them were hospitalised with gunshot wounds.

“A further two employees were hospitalised on Saturday, also as a result of gunshot wounds,” it said.

“On Sunday, two Lonmin security guards were killed as a large group attempted to attack Lonmin facilities. Their families are being informed.”

Lonmin said it would do everything possible to support the police in bringing the culprits to book.

It said it had taken the appropriate precautions from a security perspective, and had applied for a court interdict to prevent further disruptions.

“The situation remains tense and Lonmin continues to maintain high visibility jointly with the SAPS to guarantee the safety of our employees and prevent disruptions to the business,” Lonmin said.

No further details were immediately available and the police could not be reached for comment. - Sapa