EMPLOYEES of Australian gold mining company, Troy Resources Guyana
Inc, have confirmed that the company has given them their severance
package last Friday.
According to an employee, who spoke anonymously, the company has also paid out the one month pay in lieu of notice of termination. According to the company, the termination affected a total 227 workers, and not approximately 400 as was initially calculated. “Yea, they did that,” one employee confirmed.
A second employee also confirmed feeling satisfied with their
payment, notwithstanding being disappointed with the termination. “I
feel okay with it, I don’t have a problem with nothing else. Most
obviously, I have a family and I have to feed them, so I got to go and
look for it. I was kind of upset about it [the termination] but what can
I do,” the employee said.
Government has described the termination of the employee as “drastic and unconscionable”.
The company has been in the limelight since the October 8 death of geologist, Ryan Taylor, at the company’s “Hick’s One Extension” pit.
Following a meeting between the local executives and their Australian principals, on November 17, the company took the decision to terminate the services of employees who had been laid off since October 12, since the 6 weeks that the law stipulates as maximum time to lay off employees without pay was expiring.
The company has been facing financial issues for some time now.
In 2018, the company’s non-executive chairman, Peter Stern, noted that the company’s “financial position going forward remains challenging” also noting that the company had “a relatively short mine life in the absence of either the conversion of the company’s substantial Resources or a new discovery.”
The company has also had issues meeting production targets. The
company reported 58,118 ounces produced for the fiscal year 2019, down
from $ 70,207 in 2018.
The company was more optimistic in its 2019 fiscal year ending June 30, however, noting that the majority of the exploration effort is currently being directed towards the Ohio Creek, considered significantly gold-mineralised, with various high-grade relatively wide intersections.
The company’s other explorations include the Hicks One Extension, a review of the Smarts Underground, as well as preliminary work at regional targets such as Gem Creek, Upper Itaki, Goldstar and Kaburi Hills.
A memo sent out on November 18 by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ken Nilsson, first informed the employees of the decision to terminate, noting that “the scheduling resources and reserves, as well as securing financial support has not been completed, and will require more time”.
Following the termination, correspondence Union for the employees,
the People’s United and General Workers Union (PU&GWU), registered
its concern for the lack of appropriate notice of termination, to either
the employees or the union as required by law.
The company says that some 95% of its employees are locals.
Guyana’s Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act Section 15(1) stipulates a notice period of two weeks for employees working less than one year, and one month for employees employed for one year and over. In lieu of notice, the law requires employers to pay one month’s salary.
The company, in a paid advertisement on Thursday, pledged its commitment to paying the one month pay in addition to severance pay-out.
The termination and severance payout did not affect employees who were not laid off in October. Even with production suspended, the company continues exploration exercises, and the remaining employees are related to that.
Troy Resources, which has a history of developing and operating mines in both Australia and South America, has been operating in South America since 2002, and in Guyana since 2013, after buying over Pharsalus Gold. According to the company, Troy initially spent approximately US$76 million on plant and equipment plus construction of the processing plant and mine development before starting production in 2015”.
Since beginning operations, the company says it has developed a total of 10 open mines, 2 underground mines and four processing plants.
The company also has operations in Brazil and Argentina; however, in 2016, the company saw major downsizing, ceasing operations in Brazil, and selling 70 per cent of its Argentina operations. The company is banking heavily on its operations in Guyana at its Karouni Mines in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region to return to good standing. During a media visit to the company’s Karouni sites on November 14, management said it was costing the company some US$40,000 per day to continue in its suspended state, which began since October 12.