Ex-min­ers call for Colville oper­a­tion to be shut down

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - News - BOIPELO MERE STAFF REPORTER

BEN­E­FI­CIA­RIES of the De Beers 2005/2007 Re­trenchees Trust marched to the Depart­ment of Min­eral Re­sources (DMR) in Kim­ber­ley yes­ter­day to de­mand the im­me­di­ate shut­down of the Colville Tail­ing Min­eral Re­source Oper­a­tion, as they claim they do not ben­e­fit from it.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries handed over a mem­o­ran­dum of de­mands, in which they ac­cused the depart­ment of ig­nor­ing their nu­mer­ous re­quests to in­ter­vene and fa­cil­i­tate in the run­ning of the plant.

The mem­o­ran­dum was ac­cepted by DMR re­gional man­ager Ndle­lenhle Zin­dela, who promised to re­spond within the next 14 days, af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries raised con­cerns re­gard­ing what they re­ferred to as “con­tin­ued con­trac­tual breaches around the daily run­ning of the plant”.

They were pre­sented with the plant by De Beers Con­sol­i­dated Mines in 2005 af­ter they were re­trenched.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries yes­ter­day de­manded that all re­ports per­tain­ing to the op­er­al­i­sa­tion of the plant be tabled from April 2020 to date, as they said they do not re­ceive up­dates from the trus­tees.

They also de­manded a sep­a­rate re­port on the ex­pan­sion pro­gramme of the mine, as they learned that it was re­cently ex­panded with­out their knowl­edge.

They com­plained that the ben­e­fi­cia­ries were not con­sid­ered for em­ploy­ment af­ter the mine was ex­panded and that they were not in­formed that an ap­pli­ca­tion for the ex­pan­sion was made.

A spokesper­son for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Les­ley Mothomme, in­di­cated that they only learned that the mine was ex­panded when they marched to it to de­mand an­swers from the con­trac­tor.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries added that they want a com­pre­hen­sive re­port on the di­a­monds mined, in­clud­ing the num­ber of carats. They want to be pre­sented with the reg­is­ter for scru­tiny.

They also de­mand that an au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ment be made avail­able to them.

They said that they want the DMR to mit­i­gate the elec­tion of new trus­tees as soon as pos­si­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries, they have been en­gag­ing di­rectly with Zin­dela for years and he “keeps on mak­ing empty prom­ises”.

They said they would es­ca­late their is­sues to the Min­is­ter of Min­eral and En­ergy Re­sources, Gwede Man­tashe, and the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on min­eral re­sources if they do not re­ceive a pos­i­tive re­sponse within the promised time frame.

“We have al­ready in­formed your di­rec­tor gen­eral, Thabo Mokoena, about the chal­lenges of this So­cial and Labour Plan. That plant should have been shut down be­cause they have al­ready ap­pro­pri­ated that ex­pan­sion. We want to know why the DMR al­lows that. They are us­ing sort­ing ar­eas which are not in our terms and con­di­tions, which are not 45km out­side of Kim­ber­ley,” said Mothomme.

“So we are now leav­ing this mat­ter in the hands of the DMR and they must re­spond to our re­quest.”

Zin­dela told the ben­e­fi­cia­ries that the DMR would “in­ves­ti­gate all the al­le­ga­tions and re­spond within the time frame” set out.

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