Trade union Solidarity said that it would not allow Barbrook mine, which was placed in business rescue at the end of 2016, to follow in the footsteps of Lily mine.

This statement comes after Solidarity met with Barbrook’s business rescue practitioner (BRP) about the situation at its Barbrook mine, in Mpumalanga.

According to Connie Prinsloo, Solidarity’s deputy general secretary of mining, the trade union expressed its dismay at the meeting over the way in which matters had been dealt with at the company’s Lily mine last year.

Solidarity also requested that the Barbrook BRP provide more clarity on procedures to be followed as part of the business rescue process at the mine, which had not been done in the case of Lily mine.

“Solidarity is concerned about the financial and emotional well-being of employees as they are being profoundly affected by this process. Solidarity therefore appealed to the mine’s creditors to show the necessary empathy by showing some leniency,” Prinsloo explained.

“The BRP is of the opinion that an investor for Barbrook would soon be found. He also indicated that a turnaround strategy for the mine would be included in the business rescue plan, which will outline how production could be increased at Barbrook,” Prinsloo said.

The trade union also alerted the BRP to the fact that similar promises had been made during Lily mine’s business rescue process, but that they never materialised. “Solidarity will communicate with the Barbrook BRP on an ongoing basis to ensure that the interests of the employees are looked after,” Prinsloo said.

According to Solidarity, the BRP indicated that the business rescue plan would be announced either on or before 11 February 2017.

Vantage Goldfields’ Barbrook mine was placed under business rescue at the end of 2016, shortly after its sister mine, Lily mine, suffered the same fate.

Prinsloo said at the time that employees at the Barbrook mine only received a portion of their salaries for November 2016 and no salaries for December 2016.

“We will support our members as much as possible and act in their best interests,” Prinsloo said.