Varba-Batantsi Lead, Zinc Mine Celebrates Official Restart
The Varba-Batantsi mine near the southern Bulgarian town of Madan will be officially reopened Saturday after a 15-year break.
Sergey Atanasov, CEO of Gorubso-Madan, said that the mine had restarted its production activity in July, registering an output of around 2500 tonnes, adding that the August report would be 1000 above that rate.
Atanasov informed that the preparations for the restart of the mine after a 15-year break lasted around a year and a half.
“Under the concession contract, we were supposed to launch it by end-2013, but we managed to do that some 5-6 months earlier,” he stated, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.
Atanasov outlined the next steps in the restart program, stressing that the aim was to reach a capacity of 7-8000 tonnes per month and a staff of 180-190 by end-2013.
In 1999, the mine was closed due to its failure to reach targets and an accumulation of losses.
The Varba-Batantsi mine currently has a staff of around 130 and it expects to hire 30 new employees within a month.
In end-March 2012, Varba Batantsi, an association of KCM 2000 and Minstroy Holding, acquired over 90% of the shares of lead and zinc mine Gorubso-Madan, thereby putting an end to miners' protests over unpaid wages totaling BGN 1.2 M. A 35-year lead and zinc mining concession was signed in end-May 2012.