File image: Reuters

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (HAR) advised on Friday that the consultation process in terms of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act‚ 66 of 1995 (LRA) between Harmony and the various unions representing employees of the Kusasalethu mine had commenced on Thursday.

The unions involved are the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)‚ Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)‚ Solidarity and UASA.

Facilitated by a senior facilitator appointed by the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)‚ the discussions related to the reasons for the recent decision by Harmony to close its Kusasalethu mine due to safety and security reasons that have caused the mine to no longer be a viable business‚ Harmony said.

A parallel consultation process is also happening between Harmony and the unions to find a lasting solution by which normal production levels at Kusasalethu can be achieved and which would normalise the security‚ safety and health climate at the mine.

Kusasalethu is a mine with over 7 million ounces of reserve equating to an estimated 25 years of life.

“The focus of these discussions is specifically on again achieving security and safety of employees at the mine‚ and compliance with standards‚ codes and procedures which will ensure a safe‚ sustainable and profitable Kusasalethu.”

“Kusasalethu will remain closed until an agreement has been reached and all the conditions of re-opening have been agreed upon and committed to by all the unions and other stakeholders involved‚” Harmony said.

The company has not reopened the mine after its close over the Christmas holiday following fears of violence and intimidation among workers.

The next formal facilitation session at the CCMA between Harmony and the Unions is scheduled for Tuesday‚ the 29th of January 2013. - I-Net Bridge and Reuters