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Ballarat Gold Mine Sold After Contentious Vote, Union Raises Concerns

Ballarat Gold Mine Sold After Contentious Vote, Union Raises Concerns
Ballarat Gold Mine Sold After Contentious Vote, Union Raises Concerns

Ballarat, Australia – After being under administration for 10 months, the creditors of Ballarat Gold Mine have voted in favour of selling the mine. However, the outcome of the vote is disputed by the Australian Workers Union (AWU), who claim that a majority of creditors voted against the sale motion. This development has raised questions about the transparency of the process and has left the future of the mine hanging in the balance.

During the meeting, which was attended by approximately 80 people, the AWU requested an adjournment to allow more time for reviewing the proposal. However, the administrator abruptly ended the meeting and declared the sale vote as passed. This decision has left the union and the employees of the mine in a state of dissatisfaction.

“We do not believe the vote was in the affirmative, we believe it was in the negative. That was our read from the room,” stated Ross Kenna, regional organiser of the Australian Workers Union. Kenna further expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in the process, suggesting that decisions may have been made before the vote. “We believe there was a significant lack of transparency in the process, raising questions about potential decisions made before the vote took place,” he said.

The Ballarat Gold Mine, which employs over 200 people, has been facing financial difficulties since going into administration in March. The mine owes money to several businesses in the Ballarat area, adding to the complex situation. The AWU has been vocal about its commitment to ensuring the continuity of the mine and is willing to work with anyone who shares the same goal. “If it does transpire everything was above board and there is proof… we will work with anyone who wants to keep the mine going,” Kenna emphasised.

The sale of the mine comes after a series of delays and negotiations. The mine, which was purchased by parent company Shen Yao Holdings Limited in 2019, received interest from four companies during the bidding process. The creditors’ meeting, which was repeatedly postponed due to ongoing negotiations, finally took place, leading to the controversial vote.

It is worth noting that the Ballarat Gold Mine has a history of safety issues, including a tunnel collapse in 2021. Additionally, there is an ongoing dispute over approving a new tailings dam, further complicating the situation. The mine, with its deep network of tunnels under Ballarat streets, buildings, and homes, holds historical significance as it was the site where gold was first discovered during the Victorian gold rush in 1851.

As the future of Ballarat Gold Mine hangs in the balance, the dispute over the outcome of the vote and concerns raised by the Australian Workers Union highlight the need for transparency and careful consideration of the mine’s future. The fate of over 200 employees and the financial obligations owed to local businesses will heavily rely on the decisions and actions taken in the coming days.