RioZim unit defaults pensions contributions

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A UNIT of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed mining concern RioZim Limited reportedly suspended its contribution to employee pensions after accumulating arrears estimated at $3,6 million, NewsDay has learnt.

Report by Victoria Mtomba Business Reporter

Renco Gold Mine — a mining firm in Masvingo Province — according to sources, has since last year defaulted on its employee pension contributions to the Mining Industry Pension Funds despite deducting the funds from its 3 000-strong workforce.

The sources added that the company had also failed to honour its medical aid obligations to its employees.

This may result in the closure of the company, the source said, as it is on the brink of collapse

“Close to 3 000 workers would be affected by the closure of the company,” the source said. “The company owes $3,6 million in pensions and $400 000 to Gardens Security for security services rendered.

“It also owes close to $40 million to various banks in the country.”

RioZim Limited chief executive officer Ashton Ndlovu declined to comment, saying the mining company would soon release a statement on these developments.

“We will be issuing a Press release later today (yesterday), but of course, it has to go through our board as we are a listed company,” Ndlovu said yesterday.

RioZim Limited subsidiaries include Renco Gold Mine, Empress Nickel Refinery and Sengwa Colliery (Pvt) Ltd in Gokwe, and holds a 22% interest in Murowa Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd. GEM Raintree acquired a 24% stake in RioZim last year and became the majority shareholder in the mining company followed by Old Mutual.

Last September, RioZim projected that all production at Renco Gold Mine would increase by 25% bouyed by development work at the mine.

“Development work and a vamping project at Renco Gold Mine should see ore production increase by 25% to a target gold production of 100kg by the first quarter of 2013,” the company said then.

Workers seek Mzembi intervention

IT is understood that RioZim workers also approached Tourism minister Walter Mzembi to intervene in the dispute between the Renco Mine workers and management.

Mzembi, who is also Masvingo South MP, wrote to RioZim’s chairman Elisha Mushayakarara in a bid to resolve the dispute.

“I plead that this matter be looked into immediately to avert souring of industrial relations at the mine,” the minister wrote.

“I trust you shall give the above your most urgent attention and remain supportive of current efforts by you, your board and management and workforce to recover Renco Mine’s fading glory.”

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