IMVIGA Gold Mine Group has reportedly ceased operations in Matabeleland North and sent its entire 500-strong workforce on unpaid leave, citing tough operational challenges, NewsDay has learnt.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The mining company has five mines — Queens Mine, Durban, Imviga, Dingdong and Claydon — all located in Matabeleland North province.
The workers claimed they were advised to stop reporting for duty on December 30, 2015, with the company’s major shareholder, John Muir, claiming they would only be able to reopen after a fresh capital injection.
“Things are tough in the mining industry. Last week [December 30], Imviga Gold Mine Group forced its entire workforce to go on unpaid leave. John Muir, the owner of the mine, said their balance sheet was in bad shape,” a worker, who preferred anonymity, said.
Workers said they were owed more than $150 000 in unpaid salaries dating back to September last year.
They said before the closure of the mines, Muir proposed to slash their salaries by 25%, but they objected.
“He told us point-blank that since we had objected to his move, he was going to shut down the mines. We believe he did that as a way of fixing us,” another worker claimed.
A workers’ union representative identified as Abraham Kavalanjila confirmed the closure of the five mines.
Efforts to get a comment from Muir and mine manager, Bakhokheli Nkomo proved fruitless since last Wednesday, as they were reportedly out of the office.
Last week, listed resources group, Falcon Gold indicated that it could close operations permanently, as they were also facing viability problems spurred by weak commodity prices on the global market.