Ajay and Atul Gupta File picture: Independent Media
Ajay and Atul Gupta File picture: Independent Media

Optimum coal mine in business rescue

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 22, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - Workers at the Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine in Mpumalanga, this week downed tools, demanding answers from management over the mine’s future, as its shareholders are on the run.

Chief Operating Officer at Optimum, George van der Merwe on Thursday spoke with the workers at the mine, telling them that legal courses are in motion to keep the bank accounts open.

AmaBhungane meanwhile, revealed on Thursday that Optimum Coal Mine, Koornfontein Mines and Optimum Coal Terminal was placed into business rescue.

Business rescue refers to proceedings to facilitate the rehabilitation of a company that is financially distressed, with the aim of maximising its chances of continuing to exist as a solvent business.

According to van der Merwe, the Gupta-owned mine has filed papers to force the departing Bank of Baroda to continue doing business with the firm.

The mine supplies coal to Eskom.

In a live interview with eNCA on Wednesday, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the mine, "only'' supplied the power utility with about 5% of its total coal supply, at R150 per ton.

Phasiwe said he was unaware of reports that the mine had already been sold, saying, "we are not aware of the mine being sold but if that is the case then in terms of the law the owners of the mine have to tell the Department of Mineral Resources who the new owners are."

Phasiwe says Optimum mine is still contracted to supply Eskom with coal and should that cease to happen, "there would be consequences''.


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