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500 Vele miners dismissed

Coal of Africa’s
Vele coal project
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 September 2010 – At least 500 mineworkers have been laid off at Coal of Africa’s (CoAL’s) Vele colliery near Musina in Limpopo.

The Water and Environmental Affairs Department had ordered the company to stop operations at the mine, near the Mapungubwe World Heritage site, because it had not complied with the necessary environmental requirements, according to an SABC report.

Health and safety chairperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Eric Gcilitshana, told the broadcaster the union had been informed of the decision.

“We have received the letters of notification which informed us about the work stoppage, and that our contract has been terminated,” he said. “We found it very painful because we had accepted to work for a period of 25 to 35 years. We can’t understand why the government stopped the project, because the workers need more jobs.”

Coal of Africa said it would take some time to address the problems.

“The process between CoAL and government is continuing. We are going through all the issues, through the legal process to make sure we can satisfy all their concerns,” CEO John Wallington told the broadcaster.

“The concern is that it’s a time-consuming affair. We already had to let 500 people go now, and hopefully when this is all over we will re-employ everybody and get the mine going again,” he said.