Balama graphite operation restarts after strike

Syrah Resources has confirmed the recommencement of operations at its Balama graphite mine in Mozambique after “security concerns” that regional media said included a strike by a small group of employees.

Company MD Shaun Verner said a security review on 11 November local time confirmed an issue; the Market Herald in Australia said the open-pit mine’s management moved its workforce off-site for safety.

“Syrah’s highest priority is the health and safety of employees and contractors,” officials said on a statement on 14 November. “Accordingly, the company took the precautionary measure of temporarily suspending Balama operations. The company’s full contract security service, with a small number of employees and contractors, remained at Balama. All employees and contractors remained safe.”

The miner said authorities have since endorsed a company-level agreement, or CLA, with the Internal Union Committee as the “correct process” for matters relating to its employment conditions at the mine. The government of Mozambique has also said, per the Herald, that illegal industrial action will not be permitted to interrupt the mine’s operations.

“Through close engagement with government, security authorities and other stakeholders monitoring the situation, Syrah has assessed that the safe return of the workforce to site and resumption of operations at Balama will be undertaken from today,” Syrah said.

Balama has been put on suspension at least once before in 2022; in June, mine management suspended the movement of one of its transport routes after reports of insurgent attacks, reported the Market Herald.

Balama, located in the southern Cabo Delgado province, has a graphite ore reserve of 107 million tonnes and a life of mine of 50 years.

Sources: ASX Announcements (syrahresources.com.au) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) temporarily suspends Balama operations amid security concerns – The Market Herald