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South African Gold Miners, Unions to Sign Labor Pact

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and Harmony Gold Mining Co., Africa’s largest producers of the metal, agreed in principle with South African unions on the contents of a deal aimed at ending a wave of strikes.

The parties plan to sign an agreement on Oct. 25, the Chamber of Mines, an industry body that negotiates on behalf of the companies, said today in an e-mailed statement. The chamber met today with labor groups including South Africa’s biggest union, the National Union of Mineworkers, after improving an offer to workers last week.

The strikes, which began in the platinum industry and spread to gold, chrome and iron-ore operations, have hurt companies already grappling with rising costs. Workers have walked out without heeding legal resolution procedures, leading producers to dismiss or threaten to dismiss employees.

“Today’s discussions were positive and there is a collective resolve by all the parties to end the unprotected action as soon as possible,” Elize Strydom, the chamber’s chief negotiator, said in the statement.

As many as 46 people died in August as workers protested at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana operations before the company agreed to wage increases of up to 22 percent last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liezel Hill in Toronto at lhill30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Frank at sfrank9@bloomberg.net

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