Miners get the axe

2010-09-01 07:09

At least 500 miners have been laid off at Coal of Africa’s Vele colliery near Musina in Limpopo, the SABC has reported.

The water and environment affairs department ordered the company to stop operations at the mine, near the Mapungubwe World Heritage site, because it had not complied with environmental requirements.

Eric Gcilitshana, health and safety chairperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, told the broadcaster it had been informed of the decision.

He said: “We have received the letters of notification which informed us about the work stoppage, and that our contract has been terminated. So we found it very painful because we have accepted to work for a period of 25 to 35 years.

Coal of Africa chief executive officer John Wallington said: “So we can’t even understand why government have stopped the job because the workers need more jobs.”

The mine said it would take some time to address the problems.

Walling said: “The process between Coal and government is continuing. We are going through all the issues, through the legal process to make sure we can satisfy all their concerns.

“The concern is that it’s a time-consuming affair. We already had to let 500 people go now, and hopefully when this is all over we will re-employ everybody back and get the mine going again.”

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