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Copper mine in East Singhbhum shuts, workers left in lurch

Indian Resource Limited says HCL hasn’t paid dues so it can’t pay employees, HCL says there’s problem with paperwork

ranchi Updated: Jun 06, 2016 16:07 IST
Probal Sanatani
Probal Sanatani
Hindustan Times
The Indian Copper Complex plant in Ghatsila.(HT Photo)

Indian Resource Limited (IRL), a concern of Australia-based Eastern Goldfield Limited (EGL) that was operating the Surda copper mines and concentration plant of Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) in East Singhbhum’s Ghatsila area, has decided to stop all work from June 6.

“After approval of our board of director, the Australian security and investment promotion agency gave us permission, certificate and papers in November 2015,” IRL unit head PK Dubey said.

“The dues from HCL swelled to `12 crore, including the copper ore that is lying with us. The company decided to stop the copper concentrate plant in Mosaboni from June 6 and mining at Surda copper project will be stopped on June 9,” he said.

“HCL stopped releasing funds since March 2016 and refused to consume the copper ore that is lying with IRL. The company is not in position to pay its employees due to the fund crunch, hence we have decided to withhold operations in the area till things are settled,” an IRL (Mosaboni) official said.

The decision to cease operations has put the future of around 1,400 workers and officials with the IRL in jeopardy — the Surda copper project is the only copper mine currently in operation in the Singhbhum copper belt ever since the Mosaboni group of copper mines stopped functioning.

However, HCL says the funds to IRL have been stopped due to a problem with paperwork.

“The mother organisation of IRL, that was named Swan Gold, changed its name to Eastern Goldfield Limited without informing us. We want some time to rearrange papers and so on before releasing funds to IRL in its new status,” DK Choudhury, the general manager of Indian copper complex — a unit of HCL — told HT.

First Published: Jun 06, 2016 16:07 IST