SOUTH Africa’s state-owned mining company, African Exploration & Mining Finance Company (AEMFC) in joint venture with Lurco Group would submit a new bid for control of Optimum Coal Mine after the consortium’s bid was “swept from the table”.
According to City Press, a weekly newspaper, creditors accounting for 75% of claims at Optimum Coal Mine, voted down the AEMFC/Lurco funding plan, worth R1bn, which would have recapitalised the mine whilst a decision was made on the mine’s permanent ownership.
The creditors include Eskom which has put aside its competing claims with Centaur Holdings, allegedly a company associated with the Gupta family that once owned Optimum, in order to vote AEMFC/Lurco’s scheme down.
City Press, in an article republished by News24, cited AEMFC spokeswoman Kim Polley as saying the consortium would submit a new bid for the mine whilst pre-commencement funding (PCF) of R1bn would be reduced to a smaller sum.
PCF funding was made part of the bidding process for the mine to ensure workers were paid and that the mine was readied for a re-start once control of the asset was awarded.
Optimum Coal Mine employees earlier this month burned vehicles and blocked access to the mine in protest after not receiving salaries for several months. Optimum Coal is supposed to be supplying coal to Eskom. It was previously owned by Gupta company Tegeta Exploration & Mining and before that, Glencore.