Optimum Coal Mine to reopen after court judgement

More than 500 jobs will be saved under the new ownership at Optimum Coal Mine in Middelburg.his

The National Union of Mineworkers welcomed the settlement agreement between the National Prosecuting Authority and Liberty Coal ordered by the North Gauteng High Court.

The NPA and Liberty Coal negotiated a R462 million forfeiture settlement over mining rights under the agreement signed last week. Liberty Coal takes ownership of the Optimum Coal Mine and its export arm, the Optimum Coal Terminal.

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“NUM calls on the Richards Bay Coal Terminal board to immediately give back Optimum’s train allocation. This is to allow for the resumption of Optimum’s export capacity. This will ensure that the re-opening of the mine forges ahead unhindered.”

“The NUM calls for the Liberty Coal to re-employ all the employees who lost their jobs during the time when the Optimum Coal Mine was placed under business rescue. NUM reiterates its position to the NPA. The authority’s preservation order against Optimum Coal Mine asserts was a final nail in the coffin of the workers who suffered at the hands of the Gupta family’s shenanigan,” said Bizza Motubatse, NUM Highveld Regional Chairperson.

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Matubatse expressed his happiness that former employees will go back to work following suffering due to unemployment. “When the NPA decided to close that particular mine, it had a negative impact to our members who were unable to work for their families. We are saying the grass is greener now. As NUM Highveld Region, we welcome the stance, because this matter has been long overdue. It was very difficult for our members who are working there to feed their families, and to take their children to school. We hope that the NPA will not come back at a later stage and decide to derail this particular process.”

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