A spokesman for AngloGold Ashanti says the company is set to fire about 12,000 South African workers who have been striking at three of its gold-mining operations outside Johannesburg.

Alan Fine said Wednesday that the workers failed to meet a deadline to return to work. He said even as the company prepares to formally dismiss the workers, it is still holding talks with workers' representatives to save their jobs.

Other companies have threatened striking miners with dismissal. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's top producer of platinum fired 12,000 workers earlier this month, and gold mining company Gold Fields fired 8,500 striking miners on Tuesday.

Amplats' decision proved controversial, with South Africa's trade federation now vowing to stage massive street protests in support of the fired miners.