August 1, 2011 / 10:30 PM / in 6 years

Striking S.Africa gold miners resume talks Tuesday

* Gold strike hits as bullion at record highs

* Week-long S.African coal strikes ends

* Strikes could hurt growth in Africa’s largest economy

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - South African gold mine workers and producers were to resume wage talks on Tuesday aimed at ending a strike that is costing the companies up to $25 million a day in lost output at a time when the precious metal is fetching record high prices.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said no progress was made in talks to resolve the impasse with the country’s main gold miners, AngloGold Ashanti , Gold Fields and Harmony Gold and a junior miner.

“The gold talks have ended, there was no progress. We will continue tomorrow,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said late on Monday.

A spokesman for the Chamber of Mines, which negotiates on behalf of the gold mines, also said talks would take place again on Tuesday.

Some 100,000 gold miners downed tools on Thursday and analysts have said a prolonged stoppage in the world’s fourth largest gold producer could help the bullion price maintain its upward momentum.

It has been hitting new record highs on an almost daily basis as investors seek safe havens amid European and U.S. debt woes.

A week-long strike against South Africa’s main coal mines ended on Monday when a wage deal was clinched.

The mounting impact of South Africa’s annual “strike season”, which has also hit the fuel, diamond and steel industries, is seen crimping growth and possibly pushing the continent’s largest economy into contraction.

Coal firms that were affected included Anglo Thermal Coal SA , Exxaro , Optimum Coal and Xstrata Coal . If it had persisted it could have menaced exports and supplies to the country’s power utility Eskom .

The Chamber of Mines said most of the coal companies had agreed to increases of 8 to 10.5 percent in the first year and 7.5 to 10 percent in the second year.

In the gold talks, the NUM has been seeking a 14 percent pay rise while the gold mine companies have publicly offered rises of 7-9 percent.

Editing by Angus Macswan

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