Optimum coal mine management fails to appear before Parly committee

The Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine has come under the spotlight in Parliament on Wednesday morning for its failure to pay workers.

George van der Merwe, chief operating officer at the Optimum Mine receives a memorandum of demands from workers at the mine on 22 February 2018. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine has come under the spotlight in Parliament on Wednesday morning for its failure to pay workers.

The Mineral Resources committee is being briefed on the latest developments at the Mpumalanga mine.

The committee heard how the operation and at least three other mines owned by the family, have failed to pay workers, with management citing banking challenges.

Optimum coal management and the mine's appointed business rescue practitioner failed to pitch for today’s meeting.

The company had initially agreed that it would appear before MPs.

A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) representative from mine told the committee that certain contractors were last paid in October.

The department also says that the mine’s owners failed to inform it that they are in the process of selling the company, as required under legislation.