By LT Blogger
More than 30 workers working for Global Drilling Services Ltd, a Zambian company based in Livingstone, were left stranded in the Gwembe valley in Southern Province for more than one month without food and basic needs. This was after the company which was contracted to drill for coal exploration failed to undertake the works. Global Drilling Services Ltd was contracted by an Indian firm, Era Power and Infrastructure (Z) Ltd.
It is reported that Global Drilling Services was awarded the tender to drill more than 3700 meters of coal exploration in the southern coal block in the Gwembe Valley. However, Global Drilling Services Ltd failed to drill even a meter despite being paid more than 81 000 US Dollars towards mobilisation. The stranded workers complained that they were left stranded in the bush for more than one month in Gwembe Valley whilst the company owner was in Livingstone spending the money.
It is reported that the owner and his directors never went back to the Gwembe Valley after receiving the mobilisation funds and left the workers starving in the bush.
Some of the workers spoken to who sought anonymity claimed that their employer engaged them from Mazabuka’s Munali Hills near Albidon Mine and ferried them to the Gwembe Valley to drill. The workers also complained that Global Drilling Services Ltd engaged them without giving them any form of contracts and that the employer only promised to pay them five million kwacha (K5 000 000.00) each every month .
The workers further explained that their employer failed to provide the equipment needed to do the works and neglected to pay salaries. This forced the workers to start abandoning the site one by one and the site has since been abandoned. Global Drilling Services Ltd is also reported to owe various suppliers of goods and services more than seventy five thousand US Dollars.
This development echo’s the various concerns by foreign investors to offer contracts to Zambian companies, as most local contractors fail to do the works despite being paid huge amounts of money.
This has further delayed the opening of the new coal mine which is poised to bring a total of $1.8 Billion US Dollars worth of investment in the country. Era Power and infrastructure (Z) Ltd intends to build a thermal Power Plant in the area which will be in excess of 1.8 billion US Dollars. Global Drilling Services Ltd was supposed to undertake the works within a period of two months from October 2009 to end of November 2009.