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Gold Fields close to ending strike

Gold Fields says union leadership intervention in a fierce strike made return to production achievable.

About 3,000 men gather outside the Goldfields' KDC gold mine in Westonaria to hear Former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema address them over labour disputes on 3 September, 2012. Picture: Govan Whittles/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - South African bullion miner Gold Fields said on Tuesday that trade union leadership intervention in a wildcat strike made a return to production more likely.

About 12,000 workers have been on strike at the east section of its KDC mine in South Africa for almost a week.

Spokesperson Sven Lunsche said the company was losing 1,650 ounces of production a day and it had until Monday used stockpiles, it was now two days that the stay away had impacted directly on production.

Unlike the violent strikes that have tainted the South African platinum industry, Gold Fields believes worker discontent stems from an internal dispute within the local branch leaders of the NUM and its members.

National Union of Mineworkers president Senzeni Zokwana addressed a mass meeting at the mine on Tuesday and has agreed to bring the branch leaders and disgruntled members face to face on Wednesday.

"This is positive development that could see the workers returning to duty soon," said Lunsche.

"The president's intervention has made a return to production more likely."

Shares of Gold Fields have shed 6.56 percent in the last five days, which is in line with the 6.34 percent fall in the JSE's Gold Mining Index.

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