VENTURES AFRICA – Harmony Gold would reopen its Kusasalethu mine and it (the mine) would be in full production in June, the JSE-listed gold mining giant said on Tuesday, after closing the mine for weeks because of labour unrest.
Harmony had earlier said that around 6.000 jobs were on the line if the mine had of been closed for good with family members and dependents losing a regular income.
Reuters reported that this could be a flash point after South Africa’s mining sector was rocked by a wave of labour unrest last year that unleashed violence and killed over 50 people.
Harmony said the start-up plan would begin and the mine should be back to normal production by the end of June.
Stakeholders agreed that each employee would sign a code of conduct to show their individual commitment to ensuring that Kusasalethu is mined in a safe and secure way with full respect for the rule of law, according to Reuters.
A monitoring committee will be established to ensure that the guarantees and undertakings in the agreement are complied with.
Analysts said Kusasalethu was a mine that is worth saving. “Together, employees and management at the mine have delivered enormous success in recent years. This mine has significant reserves to operate until 2038 (25 years from now),” analysts said.
The mine was closed after some employees at the mine in October, November and December last year brought the mine and the area to a standstill through a strike, alleged violence and murder, underground sit-ins, damage to mine property and alleged severe intimidation of those who wanted to work. The mine is situated on the west of Johannesburg.
Graham Briggs, the CEO of Harmony, recently said it had become unsafe for the mine to continue to operate.
Briggs said the cost of these events had been enormous, with two people losing their lives and a number of employees being assaulted and injured.
“The company suffered a large financial loss. Employees and their families lost millions in wages. There was significant damage to mine property,” according to Briggs.