March 23, 2017 / 8:09 AM / 2 years ago

Wildcat strike hits Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, March 23 (Reuters) - Workers downed tools on Thursday in a wildcat strike at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine west of Johannesburg, the company said.

Kusasalethu has been a flash point for labour violence and strikes in recent years, threatening the viability of the mine and underlining the social risks of mining in South Africa.

Harmony said in a statement that no employees had shown up for work on Thursday and the strike had been encouraged by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in response to disciplinary procedures against 40 employees following an illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu in January.

“Management has sought an urgent meeting with the leadership of AMCU to address this unprocedural/illegal industrial action, which may result in further disciplinary action and undermines the continued viability of the mine,” Harmony said.

AMCU was not immediately available for comment.

Kusasalethu has about 4,500 employees and produced just over 124,000 ounces of gold in the 2016 financial year. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; editing by Ed Stoddard and David Clarke)

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