Where to for Blyvoor?

2014-06-01 15:00

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With the gold mine under liquidation, and assets having been stripped, Moyagabo Maake asks a few tough questions about the mine

A threat by Eskom set off a chain of events that culminated in numerous deaths and an Aurora-style asset-stripping scandal of the disused Blyvooruitzicht gold mine in Carletonville, western Gauteng.

The four joint provisional liquidators of the mine, led by Leigh Roering, said Eskom told them it would cut power to the mine in late November last year. This would be catastrophic: water pumps to shaft No?5 would stop, causing flooding in 24 hours and making it economically unviable to revive.

In addition, 6?000 people, a school and a clinic would have been plunged into darkness.

With the clock ticking, the liquidators held talks with four potential buyers of the mine, which did not prove fruitful. A decision was made to sell the assets of the mine piecemeal and a R17?million deal was struck with a property developer to sell some of the assets.

Then came Goldrich Holdings, a company with links to Aurora through director Thulani Ngubane?–?who was co-director in Aurora alongside Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela?who stripped the Pamodzi mines a few years ago and left workers destitute.

Goldrich offered to buy the entire mine and its underground structures, and made arrangements with Eskom not to switch off the lights. During Goldrich’s tenure, 24 or more illegal miners and security guards have died, according to the Mail?&?Guardian, and assets have been stripped and sold off.

City Press puts Roering, responding on behalf of the liquidators, in the hot seat.

Did more experienced companies submit bids for Blyvoor?


What experience does Goldrich have that convinced the liquidators it could take over the mine?

It was a suspensive condition of the sale of assets agreement that Goldrich had to apply to the [department of mineral resources] for a transfer of the mining right in terms of section 11 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

What due diligence was done into Goldrich by the liquidators?

The seller of an asset does not need to complete a due diligence into the purchaser of the assets.

Given recent events at Blyvoor, including the death toll which continues to rise, do the liquidators regret opening the door to Goldrich?

The liquidators regret that Goldrich was not able to perform in terms of the agreements and pay the purchase price of the assets which has, in turn, affected the employment of people at the mine and the payment of dividends to creditors of Blyvoor.

The liquidators cannot comment on the alleged “death toll” as they are not sure to what deaths you are referring.

What are the liquidators doing to prevent asset stripping at Blyvoor especially since Goldrich has not paid the full price of ownership?

We urgently applied for and obtained an interim interdict preventing the disposal and removal of any assets of Blyvoor pending the outcome of the application to determine the status of the agreements [with Goldrich].

And the death toll...

The liquidators cannot comment on this as they were not in possession of the mine when the deaths occurred.

Is there a chance you can remove Goldrich and sell the mine to a more experienced company?

The liquidators obtained a judgment from the high court on May 12 2014 and have evicted Goldrich from the mine. The liquidators are meeting potential purchasers in order to sell the assets.

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