Grootvlei gold mine 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 June 2011 – Hundreds “’ perhaps thousands “’ of tonnes of steel and equipment have been stripped from the seven operational Grootvlei mine gold shafts taken over by Zondwa Mandela and Khulubuse Zuma’s Aurora Empowerment Systems in October 2009.

Miningmx reports that because of the looting, the Pamodzi mines will never return to work. The worst is that in January, 11 pumps and their electrical motors in Grootvlei’s No 3 shaft – there to prevent an ecological disaster in the East Rand – were removed and have since disappeared.

The pumps cost around R1.4 million each and the pump motors R1.3 million apiece. The pumps had been removing 108 mega-litres of acid mine water a day when control of the Grootvlei mine was taken over by Mandela and Zuma, who on 27 January simply ordered the removal of the all the equipment, the Miningmix report adds.

Provisional estimates indicate that about R500 million would be required to replace the equipment that was removed. These assets were under the auspices of Mandela and Zuma on behalf of the Pamodzi Gold liquidators, but were not their property. Now there is practically zero chance that any investor will be prepared to invest so much money in the stripped shafts.

During the past week Solidarity and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) faced the realisation that Grootvlei and Orkney “’ the two mines that Aurora would supposedly have bought with the aid of Chinese investors “’ would never return to operation.

The unions have been bewildered by the senseless destruction of the assets.

Even the Ndlovu shaft, whose headgear and rigging were put up less than four years ago, has been cut up and removed. This shaft’s missing equipment would cost around R100  million to replace, according to one of various mine managers appointed in the past three years who had worked there intermittently.

Grootvlei had seven operating shafts where some 4,500 people were working when Aurora took over as preferential bidder during the liquidation process of the mine, and at the Orkney mine, where just as much plundering took place, 1,800 people had been working.

A forensic survey is under way and contractors are helping the liquidators with a comprehensive survey of discrepancies between the assets handed to Aurora and those now returned, said Engelbrecht.

He would not speculate on the possibility that criminal charges would eventuate. “That would have to be determined in an insolvency inquiry,” he said.