Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 May 2010 – As specialist investment company Aurora Empowerment Systems Limited announced that it was receiving multi-million-rand foreign funding, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) claimed that more than 2 000 workers at the company’s Grootvlei mine on the East Rand had been without water since the supply was cut off on Wednesday afternoon.
Aurora has announced that it has secured the capital injection of R725 million in funding it needs to save its mining investments, after its previous financial backer pulled out. The funds will be provided by Global Emerging Markets “’ a New York investment group “’ Aurora said in a statement handed to reporters.
Pamodzi liquidator Enver Motala revealed last October that Aurora had been chosen as the preferred bidder for two gold mines belonging to Pamodzi Gold Limited when that company went into liquidation. Aurora agreed to pay R215 million for Orkney mine and R390 million for Grootvlei.
“Now we are considering the latest funding from Aurora and are encouraged by it,” he told Bloomberg News by phone from Johannesburg.
“The liquidators will continue to hold talks with an unidentified Chinese company about the mines in case Aurora fails to come up with the funds,” he added. “A decision on the sale will be made within the next couple of weeks.”
But the NUM is not impressed.
General secretary Frans Baleni pointed out that it was unhealthy and unhygienic for workers to be without drinking water or bathing water. “It is totally unacceptable,” he said.
He added that the NUM was perturbed that Aurora could run to the media to make a public announcement when its house was not yet in order. “They could have first restored water and electricity and paid their workers before going to the media to glorify their so called achievement,” said Baleni.
“It is still a shock to us that workers who spent their Easter holidays at the mine because of not being paid are not their immediate priority,” he emphasised.