Independent mediating commission CCMA said today that negotiators seeking to end the South African miners' strike have made significant progress in talks.
CCMA spokesman Afzul Soobedaar said that there was an "expectation" by both parties of an agreement "before the week is out."
The striking Marikana miners have agreed for the first time to lower their monthly salary demand of 12,500 rand (£930).
"The demands came down to below 11,000 rand (£820)," said Bishop Jo Seoka, who has been mediating in the talks.
"I'm very confident that something is going to happen today."
The demand is, however, still way above the offer on the table from transnational mining group Lonmin.
The company, which is offering increases of between 9 and 21 per cent, claimed that 12,500 rand would put thousands of jobs at risk and challenge the viability of the business.
Basic pay for most underground workers is currently around 5,400 rand (£400).
President Jacob Zuma warned on Monday that the country could ill-afford mine stoppages. He told the Cosatu trade union confederation conference that the strikes had cost the national treasury nearly 3.1 billion rand (£232m).
He blamed miners' poor living and working conditions on the failure of mining companies to honour a charter enshrined by law to improve the miners' lives.
Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi called for a broad commission of inquiry into the killings of 34 striking miners by police, saying it should investigate the employment and social conditions of miners and their "poverty wages."
"We are extremely concerned that the events of August 16 and the ongoing violence... has shifted the focus and blame from the bosses who have been sitting in the shadows enjoying profits from the very workers whose families have now been robbed of their only breadwinners," he said.