DA accuses Ramatlhodi of 'panicking' over mining job losses

The party says the decision to suspend Glencore’s Optimum Coal Mine’s licence isn’t going to help.

Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has been accused of "panicking" over job losses in the mining industry.

The DA'S James Lorimer says this is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the decision to withdraw Glencore's Optimum Colliery's mining licence.

The Department of Mineral Resources took the step on Tuesday as Glencore announced it was putting the mine into business rescue because of an economically unsustainable coal contract with Eskom.

The mine stopped producing coal for export earlier this year.

Ramatlhodi has condemned retrenchments at the mine, saying they were "inhumanely conducted" and in breach of legal prescripts.

A claim which Glencore has denied.

Thousands of mineworkers are losing their livelihoods as mining houses restructure to offset the global slump in commodity prices.

Lorimer says the decision to suspend Glencore's Optimum Coal Mine's mining licence isn't going to help.

"The minister is panicking and this is only going to make things worse, because as much as he tries to strong arm business, soon he will realise that there is no more business to strong arm."

Government plans to hold a mining indaba in October for frank behind-closed-doors discussions with the industry.

Lorimer believes this is long overdue and would be a better route to follow than threatening mining companies with losing their licences if they cut jobs.