S. African minister unhappy with Gold Fields after job talks

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's Gold Fields is not acting in good faith in talks with the government over planned job cuts, mining minister Gwede Mantashe said on Monday, a setback for negotiations aimed at ending a weeks-long strike.

Most workers at Gold Fields' struggling South Deep mine have been on strike since Nov. 2 over the company's plans to cut around 1,100 jobs, or 30 percent of its workforce.

Mantashe, who wants to save jobs in the mining sector, said he met Gold Fields executives on Monday evening but could not resolve the "current impasse".

“We don’t believe the company is acting in good faith. They have merely engaged in a tick-box exercise for compliance purposes," Mantashe said in a statement.

"This is a disturbing approach, and we remain unhappy with the way the process has unfolded thus far."

A Gold Fields spokesman did not respond to calls for comment.

Gold Fields reported a 3 percent drop in third-quarter production this month, partly due to the numerous operational problems at South Deep, a mine in a tough geological setting 3 kilometres (2 miles) below the surface.

(By Joe Brock; Editing by Adrian Croft)