Harmony Gold swings to loss, sees deaths at operations mount

Harmony Gold (JSE:HAR) (NYSE:HMY), the world's fifth largest producer of the precious metal, swung to a net loss for fiscal 2018 after booking impairment costs at a number of its mines, as well as an additional loss due to foreign-currency effects.

The South African gold miner posted a 43% drop in annual earnings, or a 4.47 billion South African rand loss (about $309 million), compared to a net profit of 362 million rand in fiscal 2017.

It also revealed a significant setback in terms of safety at its operations, with 13 workers killed in the 12-month period to June 30, compared to just five in 2017.

Headline earnings per share came in at 171 cents, in line with what it had previously flagged to the market, from 298 cents a year earlier.

Harmony’s total gold output increased 13% to 1.22 million ounces. For 2019, the company is targeting 1.45 million ounces thanks to its re-investment in Hidden Valley and acquisition of Moab Khotsong.

The company said the key focus areas for 2019 will be safety, repaying debt, delivering on its operational plans and substantially progressing the permitting of its Wafi-Golpu project in Papua New Guinea.