Harmony Gold Falls as Third-Quarter Production Declines 15%

Harmony Gold Mining Co. fell after Africa’s third-largest producer of the metal said output in the third quarter through March dropped 15 percent from the previous three months.

The shares declined 3.4 percent, the most since April 3, to 54.30 rand by the close in Johannesburg. Safety concerns relating to weeks of strikes and violence led Harmony to suspend output at Kusasalethu, its biggest mine, the company said in a statement.

“More than half of the employees at Kusasalethu have returned to the mine to date and Kusasalethu is expected to return to normal production levels after June 2013,” the company said. “Kusasalethu’s and Phakisa’s performance may further impact Harmony’s June 2013 production quarter.”

Gold output dropped 9 percent in the December quarter from the previous three months because of work stoppages and violence at Kusasalethu in Carletonville, west of Johannesburg. Mining strikes that started at platinum operations and moved to gold, iron-ore and coal mines cost Africa’s biggest economy about 11 billion rand ($1.2 billion) in tax, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on April 2.

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