Exxaro employees acquire 50% shareholding in Arnot Coal mine

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Former and current Exxaro employees have been given a 50 percent shareholding in its Arnot Coal mine. The handover was done in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, on Wednesday by Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe.

The workers were retrenched in 2016 when Eskom terminated its contract with the mine. Now mining company Wescoal is providing the expertise while owning the other 50% of the mine.

It couldn’t have been done on a better day than worker’s celebration day. The workers say they gave up their pension to have the 50% of the mine.

At some point, they were sharing food to get the project going. This all happened after about 2000 of the mwere laid off by Exxaro.

The workers say that they are more than proud to own a mine. “It wasn’t an easy journey, but I am grateful we are where we are today. We own shares in a mine and where we used to work.”

Wescoal has already spent R25 million on the project. The company aims to spend R75 million as the mine starts operating again.

CEO Reginald Demana says that they will invest R100 million in total. “We will invest R100 million rand in totality to ensure that the mine starts operations. We are glad to be part of this empowerment phenomenon. As a black-owned, we felt it’s necessary to invest in this.”

The Department of Mineral Resources calls this a milestone. Mantashe says that they hope it becomes a success.

“We are hoping this experiment will be a success so that that it could be replicated. When the workers own a mine, it’s likely to succeed.“

The former owner of Exxaro has given its mining assets to the workers free of charge. They were provided with the necessary skills to run the mine. While festivities took place inside the mine, some local residents were protesting at the gate demanding to be hired by the local mines.

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