COSATU welcomes the positive agreement to reopen Lily Mine and recovery of the bodies of the three workers trapped

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the positive agreement reached between government led by the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr. Gwede Mantashe, with the Business Rescue Practioners (BRPs) and the former owners of Lily Mine, Vantage Goldfields to reopen Lily Mine.  This agreement accompanies the Minister exercising his power to promulgate a declaration under Section 11 of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Development Act

This agreement has been the product of extensive engagements between the Department, the BRPs, Vantage Goldfields with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and COSATU over the past several years.  This has been a painful chapter to over 1500 workers who lost their jobs and most painfully the families of the trapped mineworkers, Solomon Nyirenda, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Winnie Nkambule.

We are heartened by the commitment by Vantage Goldfields to resume operations at Lilly Mine which will see many jobs being recreated as well as their agreement to finally recover the bodies of the deceased mine workers.

This will bring long sought relief to their families who have been pained at not being able to bury their loved ones.  It will provide jobs to mine workers desperate to take care of their families.  It will see stimulus injected into the local community and economy.

Whilst this has been a long and difficult journey, we are pleased that we are finally concluding this chapter and closure and relief can now be provided to the families and workers traumatised by the horrific accident at Lily Mine.

COSATU and NUM will continue to engage with government, the BRPs and the employer to ensure this agreement is honoured and expedited.  We thank the Minister, Gwede Mantashe, for his intervention and the relief it will bring to the families and many workers.  This is a reminder of the importance of having a government, led by the African National Congress, that understands the needs of workers and seeks to resolve them no matter how difficult.

Issued by COSATU

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