March 24, 2005

Strike at world's sixth biggest gold producer

The world's sixth biggest gold producer Harmony Gold is losing around 1 million rand in revenue per working day from a strike that started on Wednesday night, the firm has announced. At operations accounting for about two-fifths of the company's output, around 20.000 miners did not appear for the night shift on Wednesday, more than 40 percent of the total workforce, in a dispute over job losses. The company has said it urgently needs to wrap up a restructuring in the Free State, because the shafts were losing around 100 million rand per quarter on average. Harmony has been the hardest hit of the three biggest South African gold producers by a rise in the rand currency, because it mostly has lower-grade mines and has not diversified much overseas, with 90 percent of its production coming from domestic mines. The group's operations in the Free State, except the recently acquired Target mine were included in the work stoppage. (Rts)

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