File Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
File Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

About 1,700 miners staged an underground sit-in at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine from Wednesday afternoon, with the company saying no formal demands had been made.

Kusasalethu has been the scene of labour unrest over recent years. It is a mine that has been scaled back to focus on only the high-grade portions of the ore body, shortening its life.

Harmony said on Thursday the "illegal sit-in" started after the Wednesday morning shift "chose not to return to surface".

"No formal demands have been made by the participating employees. Management has sought to engage with union leadership with the purpose of resolving the matter and returning all employees to surface," the company said.

Harmony has set itself a production target of 1.5-million ounces in three years to replace ageing mines that will be closed, taking 200,000oz of gold from its 1-million-ounce-a-year profile and reducing its critical mass.

Harmony wants to be a large gold producer so that it can fund its half of the $2.6bn Golpu copper and gold mining project that it shares with Australia’s Newcrest Mining in Papua New Guinea.

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