Mining companies Gold One and Goliath Gold have conditionally agreed to buy the liquidated Pamodzi Gold's Grootvlei mines, trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday.
"Gold One and Goliath Gold are heroes who have brought hope for thousands of former Pamodzi and Aurora mineworkers of the Grootvlei mines..." Solidarity said in a statement.
"This comes after these companies today conditionally agreed to purchase the liquidated Pamodzi Gold's Grootvlei mines for R70-million."
Solidarity deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis said: "Gold One is now faced with the huge task of getting the Grootvlei mines operational again. Their takeover of the mines will also contribute greatly to combating illegal mining in the area."
The union had already started labour negotiations and was heartened that the companies had indicated that former Aurora and Pamodzi employees would get preference during rehiring.
However, there was still uncertainty about the company's Orkney assets, and Solidarity appealed to Pamodzi's liquidators to urgently conclude their sale.
Pamodzi's liquidator was not immediately available to confirm the news.
Solidarity questioned the suitability of the prospective buyer of the Orkney assets, China African Precious Metals (CAPM), claiming it had defaulted on its electricity bill.
"In addition, CAPM's security services provider recently suspended its services to the company owing to nonpayment. An alternative buyer is the only option. We cannot allow the tragedy to be repeated for a third time," Du Plessis said.
According to a presentation on Gold One's website, it would pay R7-million on signature of the agreement, and the balance on fulfilment of conditions including the granting of prospecting rights by the mineral resources department. The High Court in Pretoria would have to approve the sale.
Aurora Empowerment Systems, led by Zondwa Mandela and President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma, became the preferred bidder for Pamodzi's mines when the company went into liquidation in 2009.
Its management contract was cancelled after the company was accused of destroying infrastructure at the mines and of causing the loss of more than 5300 jobs. The miners had to live off charity after several promises to pay them did not materialise.