AngloGold Ashanti could dismiss 12,000 striking workers after a deadline for them to return to work expired, a spokesman said Wednesday.
"The fact that the deadline passed at noon means that indeed the process that would lead to the issuing of dismissal notices has begun, but obviously we continue to engage and we are seeking to avoid that eventuality," spokesman Alan Fine told AFP.
Talks were underway between management and the workers' representatives.
AngloGold Ashanti, the world's third-largest gold producer, is the latest mining firm to fire its striking workers in a wave of work stoppages at South Africa's mines.
Some 24,000 miners had been on strike at the company's facilities across South Africa, but half have already returned to their posts and production has rebounded to around 40 per cent.
AngloGold had said it had been losing around 32,000 ounces of production a week because of the strikes.
In the meantime Gold Fields, the number four producer, on Tuesday sent 8,500 striking workers packing, but many were appealing to try get their jobs back.
"We would think that a large majority of those dismissed yesterday would appeal," Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche, said adding that many were lining up to lodge their appeals at the mine's KDC East operation, on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
"They are queuing now. From my estimate, at this moment alone, there are about 1,500 queuing and already a few hundred have been processed, and we are only half way through the day," said Lunsche.
Gold mine operators in South Africa, the continent's leading producer of the precious mineral, are on Thursday expected to sign with the unions a fresh pay deal it is hoped will definitively end months of industrial unrest.