Harmony Gold is considering laying off more than 3,000 staff at its Doornkop mine due to a combination of falling prices and increasing costs.

According to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the South African company is holding discussions with unions regarding possible job cuts.

Harmony’s latest decision also comes ahead of ongoing talks regarding tough wage talks in the country’s gold sector.

"The reasons given are that the mine has been making losses over the past several quarters."

In early May, the company said that it plans to undertake restructuring at the Doornkop mine, which has not been generating profits for the past couple of years, the news agency said.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told Reuters that the company is planning to put the mine on ‘care and maintenance’, which hints that it plans to close the mine.

Livhuwani Mammburu said: "They want to lay off 3,040 workers there. The reasons given are that the mine has been making losses over the past several quarters."

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Mammburu further added saying that on 19 May Harmony had issued a ‘Section 189 notice’ a legal requirement that conveys that discussions would be carried out for about three months with unions, the government, as well as other stakeholders.

Single-shaft operation Doornkop is located some 30km west of Johannesburg and makes use of mechanised bord-and-pillar as well as narrow-reef conventional mining.