Menar MD Vuslat Bayoglu on Thursday symbolically handed over 5% free carried shares to host communities and employees of Kangra Coal, at a ceremony which included the unveiling of the coal company's new logo and the handing over of a memorandum from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
The event took place at the Kangra Coal operations, near Piet Retief, in Mpumalanga, where Bayoglu reaffirmed Menar subsidiary Canyon Coal’s commitment to Mining Charter 3.
Kangra’s New Beginning ceremony acknowledged the inclusion of its workers and communities as meaningful shareholders.
Independent Media Group foreign affairs programme director Shannon Ebrahim noted that the handover of shares was the very first in the first industry following the promulgation of Mining Charter 3.
Bayoglu explained that the dividends would be overseen and distributed by community and employee trusts, adding that the trusts would have three trustees each, namely a Kangra Coal representative, an independent nonexecutive director and a third trustee representing the community and employee leadership on their respective trusts.
Menar group social licensing manager Xolile Mankayioutlined the principles for mutually beneficial relationships between the mine, community and workers.
The importance of mutual understanding was also echoed by NUM local leader Isaac Mbonani. He thanked Menar for giving workers shares and for their willingness to address the concerns raised by communities. He said better cooperation between workers, the community and investors would improve productivity and sustain the mine. "We welcome this new beginning and we hope management will keep its promises," he said.
His speech followed the handing over of a memorandum, which aired the union's grievances regarding transformation, but he acknowledged during his speech that Menar and Kangra were committed addressing the issues, many of which had developed under the mine's previous ownership.
Canyon Coal completed its $40-million acquisition of Kangra Coal from Madrid-listed Gas Natural Fenosa. Kangra has an underground mine and opencast operations and produces two-million tons of coal a year.
Bayoglu added that, although the concerns raised were valid and would be addressed in due course, Canyon had only closed on Kangra in December last year, and as such needed time to address some of the left over issues.
Meanwhile, Canyon Coal plans to increase its processing capacity from ten-million tons a year to 25-million tons a year by next year, while expanding its operations from four coal mines to seven. Canyon Coal director Dr Sakhile Ngcoboadded that the company also expects to increase its run-of-mine production from 7.5-million tons a year to 20-million tons a year.