THE National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has decried the possible liquidation of Lily Mine in Mpumalanga’s Barbeton area due to financial constraints.
It is was said that the company’s shafts have been operating in an uncertain environment, leaving mine workers worried about their jobs. Speaking to African Times, NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said: “Obviously we are worried about the liquidation of the company because it will affect the jobs of workers and the community as a whole around that mine.
“We do not want to see a situation in which our members are left without jobs because majority of them are bread winners. They rely on their current employment to feed their families.
“This will plunge the whole community into poverty if this issue is initiated.”
Mammburu said that they were also worried about the non-retrieval of three mine workers who were trapped underground. The fate of Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi continue remain a mystery because rescue operations were halted last year.
“We are also worried about the mine workers who are still trapped underground because no attempts have been made to retrieve them. It is a worrisome situation because their families are still left without closure. But it is also safe to say that the national leadership is still dealing with the matter and we will have further engagements with the company in order to address these issues,” said Mammburu.
Galane Gold Ltd which co-owns Lily Mine – along with Vantage Goldfields Limited – announced in May this year that it has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the acquisition of all its outstanding shares at Vantage Goldfields Limited. Due to the two companies’ failure to conclude the execution of the acquisition agreement, the (LOI) was not pursued.
The company accused Vantage Goldfields of not being able to meet the conditions set out in the LOI, and therefore not in a fit position to sign the acquisition agreement. Galane Gold Ltd said it had given its partner five extensions to the original LOI, and it would not extend further.
Galane Gold Ltd Chief Executive Officer Nick Brodie said in a statement: “Galane has decided not to further extend the LOI, which is a disappointing outcome but at the current moment it is the only option. The situation at Vantage is complex with the company’s primary subsidiaries in business rescue and its key operating mine having suffered a tragic accident in 2016.”
“Working with the Vantage management team with substantial support from the Business Rescue Practitioner we presented a solution to first restart the Lily Mine and subsequently the Barbrook mine, pay off the creditors over a reasonable time period and provided an Acquisition Agreement that was in line with the LOI. Vantage has been unable to meet the conditions in the LOI for a variety of reasons, despite their best efforts and we therefore have no option but to terminate our discussions.”