The mineworkers believed that the mine, owned by Frontier Mining, was facing bankruptcy and that the owners were keeping the financial statements from the workers.
“FOR FOUR years I gave him my all. All I want is that he be honest and man up. Is he going to pay me or isn’t he? If he isn’t, that’s fine. I will move on, in fact, I have already. I’m just sick and tired of the empty promises,” Clifford Louw said about his salary that he has been waiting for from Frontier Mining.
According to Louw, a mechanic, he was only paid half his December salary and he is still waiting for his salary from January.
In January this year 460 mineworkers at Sedibeng Diamond Mine at Bellsbank, 110km outside of Kimberley, embarked on protest action.
At the time one of the workers at the mine claimed that they had not been paid their salaries for December or January and were only paid 40% of their salaries for October and November last year.
He added that the mineworkers believed that the mine, owned by Frontier Mining, was facing bankruptcy and that the owners were keeping the financial statements from the workers.
Louw, meanwhile, said that numerous workers had also been retrenched and that they had also not been paid. “I can’t give you exact numbers, but every day they pitch up to the offices in Study Street in Beaconsfield, hoping that they will eventually get their money.
“I consider myself one of the ‘lucky ones’ as I managed to secure employment elsewhere. My biggest problem is that the owner keeps promising and promising and nothing materialises.”
Louw said further that the workers normally accumulate their leave in December so that they can sell it back to the company at the end of January. “Everybody knows what January is like, that is why we do it. None of that was paid to us.
“I have tried asking him (the owner) on numerous occasions to just tell me what is going on. I have the paper trail. When he didn’t respond to that, I started sending him WhatsApps. I could see he was reading my messages, but he never answered. After a while, he blocked me.”
Besides the Sedibeng mine and Bellsbank development project, Frontier also owns the Star Diamond mine near Theunissen in the Free State.
Frontier’s South African subsidiary, Sedi Diamonds, acquired the operating mines from London-listed Petra Diamonds in 2014.
In March last year, it was reported that Frontier Diamonds, which started trading on the ASX in January, had recovered the first diamonds from its Bellsbank kimberlite pipe exploration project, near its Sedibeng Diamond Mine.
According to a report in Creamer Media’s Engineering News, the diamonds were recovered from a sample that was treated as part of the hot commissioning of a tailings treatment plant, which Frontier purchased from a local dump retreatment operator. The capital investment of the refurbished plant was about $1.2 million.
The biggest stone recovered from the sample, which was taken from the upper levels of the calcretised kimberlite facies of the pipe, was 1.45ct.
Repeated attempts to contact the owners of the mine for comment were unsuccessful.