The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources has welcomed a report by the Department of Mineral Resources that mining operations and the recovery of the bodies of three missing mine workers at Lily Mine is set to resume in November 2018.

The committee was briefed by the Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, Thabo Mokoena, and heard that business rescue practitioners have secured a buyer who is in the process of acquiring ownership of the mine.

“Although sceptical, the committee believes that resumption of operation at the mine will not only bring closure to the families of the three missing workers, but will also bring about 600 workers back to work,” said Sahlulele Luzipo, the Chairperson of the committee.

Luzipo warned that if the department is not in control of the situation, investors could come and go without completing the work of recovering the bodies of the workers.

“Mine owners have a tendency to abandon operations halfway, claiming that they underestimated cost implications,” said Luzipo.

The committee was also briefed on the department’s inspection of Optimum mine. The department said that the mine’s social labour plan has expired, and health and safety requirements are not being complied with. Non-compliance should incur serious consequences, the committee said.

The committee has deliberated on the inquiry into allegations of state capture in the Department of Mineral Resources, and resolved to seek a way forward from the House Chairperson, Cedric Frolick.