South Africa's Chamber of Mines, which groups the country's top mining companies, said on Tuesday it would launch negotiations with unions next week over their wage demands in the coal and gold mining sectors.

South African mineworkers' unions have asked for a 15 percent wage increase -- nearly double the inflation rate -- for their members in the gold and coal sectors.

Jabu Maphalala, the spokesman for the Chamber of Mines, which will negotiate on behalf of mining firms, said the negotiations would kick off on May 20 and May 21 for the coal and gold sectors respectively.

We shall go into the talks with a sober mind, and hope to come to an agreement that will be beneficial for the industry, he told Reuters.

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