STRIKING workers at a unit owned by gold producer Metallon Corporation have accused management of asset stripping as the industrial action entered its second week yesterday.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Two weeks ago, Metallon revealed that workers in grades 1 to 10 at Arcturus Mine had embarked on an industrial action over a backlog in wages which accumulated during the time the mine was closed.
Workers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said the management was busy stripping assets at the mine and taking them to Redwing Mine — one of its units.
“The management at the mine is busy removing underground air loaders, jack hammers, locomotives among other assets. They are taking these assets to Redwing Mine. We are worried that maybe they want to close the mine,” one worker said.
Workers accused management of being insensitive to their needs.
However, Metallon’s corporate affairs executive Zenzo Nsimbi accused the striking workers of making baseless allegations.
“Workers are always raising alarm for nothing. As a group, we have a policy of moving assets from one unit to another if there is a need. It’s not asset stripping as they say. It’s a regular thing that we usually do as a group. For example, if there is a machine that is lying idle at Shamva Mine but needed at Redwing, we take it there,” he said.
Nsimbi said some workers had returned to work while others were still on industrial action.
“Others are still on strike and others are back at work. We had a meeting with them (workers) on Saturday and we agreed on a number of things which we will discuss later,” he said.
In 2015, Arcturus Mine made a loss of $7 million and has been kept in operation due to interventions from other sources, the company said in a statement.
Metallon Gold is owned by South African mining magnate Mzi Khumalo and has five gold mines in Zimbabwe — How Mine, Shamva Mine, Arcturus Mine, Mazowe Mine and Redwing Mine.
Last month, the company said it was consolidating its claims at Redwing Mine in Manicaland into a mining lease.
Operations at the Redwing Mine in Penhalonga were suspended in 2005 when the mine flooded.
The work has since resumed de-watering the mine with a target to start production in July.
In November, Metallon announced that it was cutting its 150 000 ounces annual target by 30% due to power outages and challenges at its units.