Plans are at an advanced stage to re-open the Lily Gold Mine at Louieville near Barberton in Mpumalanga.

Speaking during a commemorative event to mark two years since the Lily Mine disaster, Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa says the mine is likely to be re-opened before the end of 2018.

Former workers and family members of the three workers, whose remains are still trapped underground at the mine, gathered to remember them.

The commemorative event brought back painful memories of the incident two years ago for family members.

The bodies of Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyarenda and Pretty Nkambule are still underground.

The three were among a group of 79 workers who were trapped underground, when the mine caved in, in 2016.

The others were rescued. Some family members still hope their remains will be retrieved.

Kenneth Mnisi, Yvonne’s father, says the family has placed everything in God’s hands.

“As parents, we placed everything on God. Everything is beyond our power. We would have taken them out long ago. We have to be patient and hand everything to God. We have hope that one day we’ll see them alive. We believe they are still alive.”

Meanwhile, an investor has signed an agreement with the Lily Mine management to rescue the mine.

According to Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC), discussions with other interested partners are ongoing.

SSC’s Kenneth Mudziri says the mine will be re-opened before the end of 2018.

“We have been engaging with the IDC in terms of the required funding. We have a target of how much the funding is needed. So, we have been in talks with the IDC and other investors in terms of assisting the SSC groups, and as we speak now of the directors, which is the CEO, (he) is in Cape Town also meeting potential investors. The aim is to open the mine.”

The management of Lily Mine, Vantage Goldfields, is now placing its hopes in the new investors.

Vantage Goldfields CEO, Mike Mcchesney, says the tragedy has been a big loss to both the families and the mine.

“We believe this new company Siyakhula Sonke will make a difference.  Therefore we believe that IDC also will come to the party, we might see this new mine starting mining in the new shaft towards August or September if things go according to plan.”

The Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union, Amcu, expressed confidence in the latest developments regarding the re-opening of the mine.

See Amcu tweet below:

 

AMCU president, Joseph Mathunjwa, “We have signed an agreement with SSC and we have worked the many months in order to complete the financing and the funding that we had before I can assure you that we are working together for the same objectives. It is my belief that the reopening of the Lily mine will provide a lasting legacy to the three people that we have lost.”

AMCU also accused government of deliberately failing Lily mine workers.

The union says promises made by government have not been fulfilled.