The chief executive of Harmony Gold Mining Co. said on Thursday the company's capital expenditure would remain intact despite the credit crunch, and the group was on the way to being debt free by June.

CEO Graham Briggs, who has slashed jobs and sold assets since taking over the South African company in 2007 and successfully turning it around, told Reuters in an interview the group would not shed any jobs owing to the financial crisis.

The crisis and the subsequent commodity downturn has seen mining firms announce lay offs of more than 10,000 miner's jobs in South Africa, angering unions and worsening efforts to trim the unemployment rate which stands at about 23 percent.

Briggs said the company, the world's fifth- and Africa's third-largest gold producer, has an active due diligence team that was hunting assets around the world, but it would not make acquisitions before June. Once rid of its debt, it would pounce on some assets, preferably those that are operational.

We are well on the way to a net debt free position by June, Briggs told Reuters.

Our capital expenditure is still intact, we don't have any plan to stop anything as our capital projects are nearing completion and are the mines of the future.

(Reporting by James Macharia)

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