coalCity Press Business reports that the efforts of eight former Exxaro Arnot Colliery employees who were laid off in 2015 have paid off as their former employer has made them co-owners of the mine.  

The eight employees were among the 1,200 employees who lost their jobs when the mine closed in 2015 because Eskom did not renew its coal supply contract.  The eight are now 25% owners of the coal mine.  The rest of the former workers own another 25% and Wescoal owns the remaining 50%, having put in more than R100 million.  All 1,200 former employees, including those who have already been employed elsewhere, comprise the shareholders of the 25%.  During a ceremony held at the mine last week to mark the handing over of the workers’ 50% shareholding in the venture, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said the deal was a groundbreaking first for the country and there was a responsibility on all the stakeholders to make it a success.  The eight employees, who had contributed their pensions to own 25% of the workers’ 50%, had started a company called Innovators Resources.  The company had been advised by Exxaro to get a partner with enough operating capital, which led to Wescoal coming on board.  The company negotiated with Exxaro for almost two years to thrash out the details of the deal.  Exxaro’s Mxolisi Mgojo indicated that the board had agreed to give all its assets at the mine, including the mining right, to the former workers to use as equity to make up the other 25% of the deal.  Meantime, the Mhluzi Unemployment Structure protested outside Arnot Colliery during the ceremony.  They handed over a memorandum to Mantashe demanding the reopening of nearby Optimum mine and the employment of locals, among other issues.

Read more of this City Press report by Lesetja Malope at SA Labour News

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