Harmony Gold Company’s said eleven employees had died on duty in the year ended June 2019, down from 13 fatalities in 2018. Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Harmony Gold Company’s said eleven employees had died on duty in the year ended June 2019, down from 13 fatalities in 2018 as it grappled to change behaviour in its aim to achieve "zero harm". Chief executive Peter Steenkamp said the company had experienced a very bad quarter at the end of the financial year.

“There was no particular trend in the accidents. If you look at the type of accidents, they include the disregard of rules, behaviour issues where people made mistakes. There is no silver bullet to fix safety issues, it is a journey,” Steenkamp told journalists.

Despite the shaky safety record, Steenkamp said that Harmony, which operates mines in South Africa and Papua New Guinea, was scouting for growth opportunities and had a pipeline of organic projects to consider.

“We are looking at any opportunity, not just in South Africa. We have a very specific investment criteria for any assets. There are many assets we are looking at, Mponeng is probably one of the many assets we are looking at,” said Steenkamp.

Mponeng is AngloGold Ashanti’s only remaining South African mine, and was put up for sale earlier this year.

In terms of output, Harmony reported a 17percent improvement to 1.44 million ounces in 2019 in line with annual production guidance of 1.45 million ounces. Steenkamp, who took over from Graham Briggs in 2016, set out a growth strategy of 1.5million ounces in 2019.

Underground recovered grade had increased by 2percent to 5.59grams per ton, the seventh consecutive year of increasing grade, he said.

Production costs jumped 35 percent, mainly due to the inclusion of Moab Khotsong and the continuing production at Papua New Guinea’s Hidden Valley mine.

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