CARRY MINE, a foreign-owned gold mine situated in Hope Fountain, has partially ceased operations due to severe economic hardships, Southern Eye Business has established.
The mining firm believed to be owned by a Greek businessman, Yannis Sofiawopoulo, started operations in 2010.
According to mine workers, the gold producer partially ceased operations on Saturday last week amid revelations that the firm was failing to pay workers two months’ wages.
About 40 workers on Monday lodged their complaint with the National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ) demanding their reinstatement.
“We were shocked to be told that the mine has ceased operations and upon inquiry we were told that the company was suffering from severe liquidity crunch,” a worker speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
“The company owes us two months’ salaries and we are failing to cope with what is happening. Our children are suffering and we do not know what to do. We would like to plead with the government to rescue us because the situation is becoming unbearable,” the worker added.
Contacted for comment, the mine manager Richard Armstrong professed ignorance over the issue.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Armstrong said before hanging up the phone.
However, Southern Eye Business has it on good authority that all underground workers were on Saturday sent on leave and promised to be recalled “soon”. Only those operating crushing machines were spared.
Beside Carry Mine, Sofiawopoulo is believed to own two other mines — Happy Valley and Shamrock — both in Hope Fountain.
The closure of the mine and 40 jobs being lost, comes at a time when the government has promised, under ZimAsset, to unlock more than two million jobs within five years. Late this year, the government awarded mine workers a 5% salary increment backdated to January 1 following protracted negotiations with mining companies. Under the new salary deal, the lowest paid workers would now get $238, up from $227 while the highest get $553 from the previous salary scale of $527.
However, the deal was disowned by the NMWUZ who described it as a pittance.