HARMONY GOLD MINING COMPANY LIMITED - Illegal miners at Kusasalethu pose a real threat to health and safety, and viability of mineRelease Date: 31/10/2014 16:06:00 Code(s): HAR PDF(s):
Illegal miners at Kusasalethu pose a real threat to health and safety, and viability of mine
Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited
Registration number 1950/038232/06
Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa
JSE share code: HAR
(“Harmony” or “the Company”)
Illegal miners at Kusasalethu pose a real threat to health and safety,
and viability of mine
Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited ("Harmony") advises that management
has decided to take serious action to tackle illegal mining at its
Kusasalethu mine. The initiative has been stepped up following the
outbreak of a fire at the mine yesterday afternoon, which is believed
to have been caused by illegal miners. Established surveillance
mechanisms alerted mine management to the fire, and standard evacuation
procedures meant that all employees who were underground at the time
were brought safely to surface.
Harmony's CEO Graham Briggs notes that this is the third fire of this
nature at Kusasalethu this month. While the company is pleased that no
one was harmed in these incidents, it is clear that “illegal mining is
a threat to employees' safety and health and to the mine's continued
viability”. Mr Briggs notes that Kusasalethu's production has not
reached planned levels and these ongoing incidents of sabotage further
undermine the mine?s sustainability.
Although illegal mining is more common at abandoned and near-surface
mines, it is still rife in deep level underground mines where
trespassers illegally enter the mines with the intent of mining and
removing gold or copper bearing material. These activities pose a
threat not only to the illegal miners? own health and safety, but also
to the safety of employees. Very often these activities result in
damage to property and mining equipment and disruption to operations as
a result of negligence, sabotage, theft and vandalism. The activities
of illegal miners can also cause pollution, underground fires and
deplete mineral deposits, potentially making the future mining of such
The company notes that Harmony employees have been threatened by
illegal miners. At the same time it is also known that some employees
have aided illegal miners through access to workings, equipment and
food and water. During October 2014, 105 illegal miners have been
arrested and about 25 employees are subject to disciplinary action.
Harmony is adopting an uncompromising stance towards these activities
and is working with organised labour and the regulatory authorities to
do so. Harmony is implementing increased security and improved
clocking-in systems to tighten control on who enters and exits its
mines. The company also regularly inspects closed-up sections to ensure
that they remain sealed off and cannot be accessed illegally.
Harmony management has decided to close the mine for a two week period
with the aim to remove all illegal miners, as well as complete all
security and access control measures. No production will occur during
this period and employees will be sent on leave.
“The risk of yet another underground fire is a risk that we are not
prepared to take and therefore we are reverting to this temporary mine
closure”, says Graham Briggs.
For more details contact:
Investor Relations Manager
+27 (0) 82 759 1775 (mobile)
Marian van der Walt
Executive: Corporate and Investor Relations
+27 (0) 82 888 1242 (mobile)
31 October 2014
J.P. Morgan Equities South Africa Proprietary Limited
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