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Appeal for NC govt to intervene in mine closure

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The appeal from the DA is an eleventh-hour attempt to restore hope to the local community before Christmas

AN APPEAL has been made to the Northern Cape provincial government to enter into talks with Trans Hex Group regarding the preliminary liquidation of West Coast Resources diamond mine in Koingnaas.

The appeal from the DA is an eleventh-hour attempt to restore hope to the local community before Christmas.

Diamond miner Trans Hex announced in October that it has put its unprofitable West Coast Resources (WCR) into liquidation, citing a fall of nearly a third in diamond prices.

The DA Northern Cape constituency head of Kamiesberg, Veronica van Dyk, said in a statement yesterday that after it had come to light last month that an agreement with Kernel Resources to take over the management of WCR fell through,128 workers had been left without work.

“There has been no mention of retrenchment packages, guaranteed pro-rata 13th cheques or their entitled leave days, not to mention the emotional torture that they have had to endure given the uncertainty of the situation,” said Van Dyk.

She added that the party was devastated by the blow that the company’s decision has had on the local community of Koingnaas.

“Given the direct impact of the mine closure on the unemployment and poverty levels in the Province, we will be making an urgent call on Premier Zamani Saul to engage in talks with the national government and Trans Hex Group so that together they can explore all options, including a reduction in costs at the mine,” Van Dyk said.

“At the same time, we ask Dr Saul to work hand in hand with the Kamiesberg local municipality and business stakeholders to get the local bulk infrastructure challenges fixed and to stimulate alternative local economic growth, so as to be able to bring some relief to the struggling families of Namaqualand.”

Van Dyk pointed out that the shedding of jobs in the mining sector had become an all too common phenomenon, as government failed to adequately promote mining investment and create conditions that are conducive to economic growth.

“At this time, when the economy remains broken and unemployment and poverty are at an all time high, much more needs to be done to support the poor and marginalised, and to replace the growing wave of despair with hope.”