All workers rescued at Harmony's mine, but profit to take a hit
South Africa’s Harmony Gold (JSE:HAR) (NYSE:HMY) was able to rescue all of its 486 employees trapped underground on Sunday at its Kusasalethu mine safely, but the miner’s profit will likely take a hit.
According to Reuters, the operation — Harmony's single largest gold producer— will likely remain closed for an indefinite period while a probe is held.
"It’s a massive blow. More than half of their book is not making money and Kusasalethu is the main culprit," Daniel Sacks, portfolio manager at Investec, told the news agency.
“We are extremely grateful that all of our colleagues have been brought to surface, without injury," said Graham Briggs, CEO of Harmony, who added that an investigation would be jointly conducted with the Department of Mineral Resources.
This is not the first time the mine must remain closed for an indefinite period. In December, Kusasalethu was shut for two weeks while Harmony removed illegal miners who had trespassed.
In early 2013 the mine also stayed closed for several weeks in an effort to control violent incidents among opposing unions.
South Africa's gold mines are among the world’s deepest and were ranked as some of the most dangerous during the apartheid era. According to the mines ministry, the sector recorded over 100 deaths a year before 2013.
Image from archives.