The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has unanimously adopted a report on its three-day oversight visit, from 10 to 12 October 2020, to the Lily and Optimum mines in Mpumalanga, the Northam mine in Limpopo, and illegal mining hotspots in Gauteng.
Both Lily and Optimum mines are under the management of business rescue practitioners (BRPs) and both are trying to attract new investors to take over mine ownership.
The committee firmly believes that mine owners have put their own financial interests far ahead of those people whose family members are still trapped underground at Lily mine, as well as those workers at Optimum mine who have not been paid salaries for months. This was after the BRPs at both mines informed the committee that owners contribute in the delay to securing new investors by turning down offers.
The committee then recommended that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) should continue to provide full legal and administrative support to the process of reopening mines currently under business rescue. It further recommended that the DMRE should ensure that Optimum mine’s next generation social labour plan addresses the economic and social needs of former employees who were negatively affected by the business rescue process.
The committee further highlighted the lack of relationship between the Northam platinum mine and the community of Thabazimbi in Limpopo. In light of this, it recommended that the DMRE should facilitate engagements between the two parties and provide feedback.
Lastly, the committee has noted the good work the DMRE is doing in dealing with illegal mining in Gauteng, including sealing off old shafts and repurposing the land for recreational activities.