The new owner of the Tkibuli mines, Steel International Trade Company, has fully paid the salaries of miners formerly on strike demanding back pay, announced Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava.
Turnava noted that she personally was in communication with miners and the new company.
She also said that reopening the coalmines and building a thermal power station were a matter of great importance.
“Coal mining will start again in early November and the mines will be expanded in the next two years”, said Turnava.
The new company has taken on the responsibility of creating a safe working environment for the miners.
“Occupational safety is a priority, and safety norms must be respected”, said Turnava.
Miners in the western Georgian mining town of Tkibuli stopped their protest on September 26, as they were promised to be paid their salaries on September 30.
Miners were protesting the fact that they had not received one-month salary from Saknakhshiri GIG, former owner of mines.
Protests started on September 24.
“We should have received our salary before September 15. However we have not received it yet. We have nothing to cover our everyday needs, bank obligations and communal fees,” miners said.
The miners stated that the mines were “the only source of income” for many families in Tkibuli and demanded the government tell them whether the mines would reopen or not.
Work has been suspended in the Mindeli and Dzidziguri mines of Tkibuli since July 16, 2018 after a fatal explosion left four miners dead and six others injured.
The Georgian government invited German experts to study the situation in the mines and promised salaries and insurance coverage before the mines were reopened.
The conclusion of German consulting company DMT company revealed safety violations in Tkibuli mines and Sakhshiri was given recommendations to eradicate the flaws one year ago.
Saknakhshiri GIG, the former owner of mines, said that the company was facing financial problems due to the suspension of operations. (Agenda/Ukrainian metal)