Three years of labour upheaval and a political push for safety and better wages have set in motion a drive to mechanise platinum mines.
SA government believes 300 South Africans were visiting the Lagos church, but it was not clear how many were on the spot when the tragedy struck.
On the eastern arm of the platinum belt, a battle for supremacy is brewing between Amcu and the National Union of Mineworkers.
Mining firms faced the logistical challenge of contacting 70 000 miners around the country when they decided to sidestep Amcu in wage negotiations.
The ongoing strike in the platinum belt is having a detrimental effect on the pockets of not only miners, but the community at large.
Attackers have gunned down a former NUM official at Lonmin, stoking political and industrial tensions on South Africa's volatile platinum belt.
The mining union's change of tactics governing wage talks has suggested that last year's bloody mine violence at Marikana may be avoided this year.
Amcu is insisting that gold mines more than double the wages of entry-level workers, raising the stakes for pay talks set for early next month.
Workers at Lonmin have launched a wildcat strike, halting all of the company's mine operations and reigniting fears of deadly unrest.
The jobs on the line in Anglo American's plan to bring profits back to its SA operations are just the first of many the sector is about to bleed.