Last year was a very challenging year for all of us at ZAC. We faced extraordinary tough choices immediately when our customers closed their businesses because of COVID-19 local and global lockdowns in March 2020.
As Menar Group Management, we took the difficult, but necessary decision to meet our legal obligations to all our employees in terms of paying what was due to them for service rendered over the years, and stop incurring further costs.
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This option allowed us to preserve ZAC with a few employees and to restart operations when the market allowed.
I want to thank the whole care and maintenance team for all their hard work in ensuring the mine assets were maintained and that ZAC is in the position to ramp-up to full productions in the course of the next few months.
COVID-19 has taken a very heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Africans. Included in those who lost their lives was our own co-workers Happy Twala and Sabelo Ngema.
We therefore, convey our deepest condolences to all those who lost loved ones due to this terrible pandemic.
However, looking ahead the market indications are positive. It is for this reason we have restarted ZAC. The prices are not yet at where we would like them, but from our side as long as we can work hard and cost effectively, our anthracite will still be needed.
The South African market is dependent on us. There are not many anthracite producers. Therefore, if we can start the operation and produce at a competitive price, we can make sure that large producers like Russia – our competitor – are not a challenge. We also have a plan to start new greenfield projects, if demand and market conditions are favourable.
We organised a small function at the end of the year to thank all those, who have stuck with us during this turbulent period and reflect on the year and look forward to a better year in 2021.
We also took up the #Jerusalemachallenge which saw colleagues dancing – well some better than other – to “Jerusalema”, a song by South African DJ and record producer Master KG., which has become a global video sensation.
We at ZAC took part in this challenge to promote teamwork, as we closed off 2020 with celebrations and hope for a good New Year in 2021. Teamwork is going to be critically important to restart activities at ZAC, which many people are heavily dependent upon especially local communities.