Families of Lily Mine workers trapped underground to wait little longer as court order halts mine reopening

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The families of three Lily Mine workers, who were trapped underground and the former workers of the mine, will have to wait a little longer before the mine is reopened. This after the Mpumalanga High Court issued an interim court order against the implementation of the amended business rescue plan.

Last week, the court heard that the Lily Mine business rescue practitioners amended the business rescue plan without involving some of the creditors.

Concerns over delay in Lily Mine reopening:

Lily Mine is situated near Barberton in Mpumalanga and hopes that it may open soon are slowly fading away. The business rescue practitioners are accused of failing to follow proper procedures when amending the rescue plan a few weeks ago.

It appears that they amended the plan without involving major creditors, Arqomanzi. Arqomanzi is bidding to acquire both Babrook and Lily Mines.

Arqomanzi CEO, Neil Herrick says the plan was amended in favour of the owners of the mine, Vantage Goldfields after they secured a financial deal with Australia-based company, Macquarie Metals. Herrick is happy with the court outcome.

“We are taking a very strong view that Vantage and the business rescue practitioners need to operate in terms of the company’s act. The playing fields must be level for any bidders that wish to compete to take over the Lily and Babrook Mines.”

Vantage Goldfields CEO, Mike McChesney is concerned that their plan to reopen the mine in July is now hampered by the interim court interdict.

“So, the effect of that is that the plans that we were going to start rolling out and paying employees within about a week from now have been put on hold until early May. It is an interim court order, so it is for two months. We are going to ask the judge for the reasons that she did it because ironically, she’s done it to assist the very same employees and creditors. Her intention is that they should have an opportunity to express their views.”

Speaking on behalf of the affected families and former workers, Harry Mazibuko says court battles between Vantage Goldfields and Arqomanzi are not bearing any positive results for them.

“We are not happy at all because that is why we didn’t believe that there was a need on our side for courts. Because courts took long and there is a possibility of appeals even after the judgment. But our position remains the same that what we need is for the mine to be reopened so we can find the container. So that we can be paid our outstanding monies and go back to our jobs. Whichever company is doing that, we are going to accept. We are not in a position of which company would prefer. Yes, it is natural that you prefer this one, but we haven’t got the power to choose which company can assist us.

The Mpumalanga High Court is expected to issue a final order in May.