HomeGoldHarmony may dismiss 2 000

Harmony may dismiss 2 000

Evander “’ one of
Harmony’s mines that
may be closed down.
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 November 2009 – Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited “’ Africa’s third-largest producer of the metal and the fifth biggest in the world “’ may fire as many as 2 000 workers as part of a plan to close ageing shafts in South Africa.

This was confirmed by National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka today in a mobile telephone interview with Bloomberg News. “Over 2 000 jobs may be lost,” he said.

Harmony “’ based here in Johannesburg “’ intends shutting down older, high-cost operations in the coming months, as costs climb at its Virginia mine in the Free State and at Evander, in Mpumalanga, CEO Graham Briggs said last week. “It’s difficult to determine exactly how many jobs will be lost,” he said by mobile phone today. “It’s incredibly sensitive.”

Meanwhile Fin24.com reports that Harmony has taken the first step towards closing some of its more vulnerable shafts because of rising costs and the low rand gold price. The report adds that trade unions at Harmony have received notice, in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, indicating that up to 2 097 workers might be retrenched.

It says the anticipated retrenchments will be mainly at Harmony’s Evander mine in Mpumalanga, where many shafts are being operated at a loss.

No date has so far been set for the required negotiations with the unions, says Seshoka. “They will begin shortly, at least before year-end,” he reckons.

Bloomberg reports that Harmony is boosting output to mitigate the effect of rising wages and electricity costs in South Africa. The company, which has all but one of its mines in the country, is also buying assets to help achieve its goal of producing 2.2 million ounces a year by 2012, from an expected 1.6 million ounces in 2010.
Caption, Pic 1: Evander “’ one of Harmony’s mines that may be closed down.