The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday said it is concerned about the looming retrenchment of more than 1 700 workers from Evander Gold Mine in Mpumalanga.
The mine, owned by Pan African Resources, announced that it would be retrenching the miners as a result of deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure, high operating costs like rising electricity prices, labour costs and a low gold price.
NUM Highveld regional secretary Tshilidzi Mathavha said the retrenchment of 1 722 miners was just another way of saying the mine would be closed down.
“Because the company is currently operating with just over 2 000 workers,” Mathavha said.
NUM Carletonville regional chairperson Zimisele Ponti said the closing of the mine would have very dire consequences for those who were going to be retrenched and their families, as there is a possibility of them staying without income for a long time.
“The employer has indicated that they are to retrench [at least] 1 700 employees. Which will actually mean that is the closure of the mine because the company is currently operating with a strength of over 2 000 workers,” Ponti said during an interview with the SABC.
Ponti said life would be very hard for the miners as many of them had never worked anywhere but in mining.
“We have many Lesotho nationals here who have been employed as miners for a long time. Where do you want them to go when you close the mines? What do you want them to do?”
He said they were aware of mining companies that are trying to abandon South Africa as a base in order to explore other areas to operate from.