Coal Mining to Resume in Tkibuli

Coal mines in western Georgian town of Tkibuli, which were closed in July 2018 after the fatal mining accident, will resume operations in early November.

News emerged after Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava, representatives of Saknakhshiri, the company operating the mine, trade unions and miners held a meeting to discuss the demands of striking miners on September 26.

25 miners launched a strike in the Mindeli and Dzidziguri coal mines in Tkibuli on September 24, demanding September wages. They were refusing to get out of mines until their demands were met.

Natia Turnava, who arrived in Tkibuli upon the Prime Minister’s instruction, said after the meeting that the negotiations yielded “positive results” and that the miners ceased to strike. She also noted that Tkibuli mines will have a new investor, who will pay off all debts on September 30 and cover social compensations to the families of the deceased and injured.

Turnava hailed the new investor’s decision to resume coal mining in November as “hopeful”, saying that mines will be expanded and re-equipped within the next two years. According to the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation, coal extraction will apparently increase from 300,000 to 550,000 tons.

Mine in Tkibuli is operated by Saknakhshiri, a daughter company of the Georgian Industrial Group (GIG), operating Tkibuli mines since 2006. GIG said that Saknakhshiri faced financial difficulties after suspension of mining last July. Therefore, it was decided to sell the company. Georgian company Steel International Trade Company is the new investor, who will take over Saknakhshiri’s assets and liabilities.

12 miners died in mining accidents that took place in Tkibuli mines last year. By decision of then Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Tkibuli mines were closed and coal mining suspended. The Interior Ministry arrested several persons in connection with the accidents.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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