Monday, 1 January 2018

Workers at Zimbabwe graphite mine strike over unpaid salaries.

Workers at the Zimbabwe German Graphite Mine (also known as the Lynx Mine) in Karoi District, Mashonaland West Province, have begun industrial action after their salaries have gone unpaid for 13  months. The action began on Friday 29 December, with workers downing tools and blocking trucks from collecting graphite from the mine compound. The miners also claim that the mine is now without electricity due to unpaid debts, leaving them without light and forcing them to take water from a mine tailing pond (pond used to store sediment-laden waters from mines; such waters typically contain a high proportion of fine silt and clay particles, which take time to settle out of the water, and may contain other pollutants, typically acids, either generated by the local geology or used in the mining process), but that managers at the mine have continued to collect their salaries.

The Zimbabwe German Graphite Mine in Karoi District, Mashonaland West Province. The Sunday Mail.

Graphite is a form of naturally occurring carbon,  most commonly found in metamorphic rocks of sedimentary origin, though it can be made artificially. It is used as a solid lubricant, forms the 'lead' in modern pencils, and is used in batteries and the manufacturing of steel.

The Zimbabwe German Graphite Mine was founded in 1982 as a joint enterprise between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Graphit Kropfmhül Gmbh of Germany. It was the only graphite mine in Africa until the Balama Graphite Mine in Cabo Delgado Province, northern Mozambique, opened in 2015. The combination of this new competition in the region with a global decline in graphite prices appears to have undermined the profitability of the Zimbabwe German Graphite Mine, resulting in its current financial crisis.

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