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Harmony to Oppose Union Court Application for Access to Hostels

Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd., Africa’s third-largest producer of the metal, will oppose a union’s court application to allow workers at its biggest mine to return to company-owned accommodation.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union today will ask the Johannesburg-based South Gauteng High Court to allow employees access to hostels at Harmony’s Kusasalethu mine, said Jeff Mphahlele, the union’s general secretary. Harmony will argue against the application, Henrika Basterfield, a spokeswoman for the company, said by phone.

“Workers have been sleeping outside Kusasalethu,” Mphahlele said by phone.

Harmony on Jan. 7 started talks with labor unions that may result in the Kusasalethu mine closing after illegal strikes at the operation led to its suspension. The company reached 22 percent of its production target in the quarter through December because the Carletonville-based mine was closed.

A wave of strikes over pay that started at South African platinum mines and spread to gold, iron-ore, diamond and coal producers cut mining output by 10.1 billion rand ($1.1 billion) in 2012, costing tax revenue, exports and jobs, according to the National Treasury.

The stock dropped 0.3 percent to 67.28 rand by 10:14 a.m. in Johannesburg.

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