Johannesburg - The Chamber of Mines (COM) will meet with Amcu for the first time on Wednesday to thrash out the terms of a peace agreement and lift the dark cloud hanging over the industry, Beeld newspaper reported.

COM vice president and executive head of Optimum Coal, Mike Teke, was asked on Saturday, after protracted discussions between the chamber, two cabinet ministers and three other unions in the mining industry, to negotiate with Amcu.

“We will meet at 3pm on Wednesday. We expect the discussions to last about two hours,” Teke was quoted as saying.

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, was sharply criticised in a debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday because the government was dragging its heels on the issue of discussions with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

When the usually calm Shabangu said she had only recently been made aware of the existence of Amcu, she was sharply heckled by opposition MPs, to the point where she told them to “shut up”.

Opposition MPs said they found Shabangu's declaration of ignorance hard to swallow, as Amcu had been a key player in the six week-long strike in February and March at the Impala Platinum mine.