Harmony Gold launches Esop

[miningmx.com] — HARMONY Gold Mining will give employees who work at the rock face up to 2.9% of its share capital.

The company said 33,000 employees below management level would benefit from the scheme, which could see it issue at least 4.3 million shares, valued at about R1bn based on Harmony’s market capitalisation on Wednesday.

Harmony’s overall black ownership is already at 36%, above South Africa’s requirement that 26% of local operations be transferred to black investors by 2014.

The five-year scheme is not the first of its kind in South Africa, where the government is compelling companies to redress the racial imbalances and inequities of the apartheid era.

Kumba Iron Ore was lauded for its employee share ownership scheme when it paid out R2.7bn to 6,000 of its workers at the end of last year.

Almost 9,700 such workers at diversified miner Exxaro also benefited from a R1bn payout after its employee scheme reached maturity after a five-year capital appreciation period.