The South African police minister says at least 30 people have been killed after officers opened fire on striking miners.
A violent stand-off has been taking place at a platinum mine north-west of Johannesburg for several days.
Officials fear the number of casualties will rise.
The staff had been on strike over a wage dispute.
It is the bloodiest security operation since the end of apartheid there.
The Marikana mine was forced to shut down this week as a rumbling union turf war that has hit the platinum sector this year boiled over into violence.
Prior to yesterday 10 people including 2 policemen had died in nearly a week of fighting between rival unions at what is Lonmin’s flagship plant.
The London-headquartered company has been forced to shut down all its South African platinum operations which account for 12% of global platinum output.
Police opened fire yesterday when the miners who were armed with machetes ignored orders to disperse.
Reporter Alex Rossi is in Johannesburg.
She says the tension there is still very strong.