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Harmony Gold falls after saying it may close mine

NEW YORK (AP) -- Harmony Gold Mining's stock dropped 5 percent in afternoon trading Monday after the company announced that it may close its Kusasalethu mine in South Africa.

THE BACKGROUND: Harmony disclosed in November that two of its workers were killed and another injured in violence at its Kusasalethu mine. There have been a series of labor disputes in South Africa's mines. Gold Fields said in November that strikes at its KDC and Beatrix mines resulted in production losses of 35,000 ounces during its third quarter.

And violence during strikes at Lonmin PLC's platinum mine near Marikana led to the deaths of 46 people, including 34 miners who were shot dead by police.

THE SPARK: On Monday Harmony said in a regulatory filing that it is considering closing the Kusasalethu mine, but that it is in talks with labor groups to see if it is possible to keep the mine open. The company said that it currently feels that it can't ensure the safety of the mine's workers.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Harmony Gold Mining Co. fell 42 cents, or 5 percent, to $8.05 in afternoon trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $7.46 to $13.40.