South Africa-based Harmony Gold Mining has announced plans to cut jobs at its Kusasalethu mine located near Carletonville, in order to return the mine to profitability in the fourth quarter of the current financial year.

The mine employs about 6,300 people, including contractors, and while undertaking restructuring measures it promises to preserve as many jobs as possible.

Harmony CEO Graham Briggs said: "Kusasalethu has not returned to profitability after various setbacks.

"We need to be both decisive and mindful in our actions so that we preserve the viability of this mine for several decades to come.

"We need to be both decisive and mindful in our actions so that we preserve the viability of this mine for several decades to come."

"Without these actions, this mine will not survive and that would indeed be a tragedy for our company, our employees, our communities and our country."

Since September 2012, Kusasalethu mine has consistently recorded losses and recorded negative free cashflow of R392m ($36m) in the financial year ended this June.

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The losses occurred due to ongoing improvement initiatives and continued investment made since 2001. In 2013, engineering infrastructure and water reticulation failures exacerbated the mine’s underperformance.

Kusasalethu will seek to engage with representative unions in evaluating various options and has commenced a Section 189 consultation process in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Over the next 60-day consultation period, the parties will consider various avoidance measures that may include offering voluntary separation and early retirement packages to employees.

The parties will also seek to transfer as many employees as possible to vacancies elsewhere in the company.