Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Russian guarantees, high wages for workers to return to Syrian phosphate mines

Business | 2017-09-29 03:48:56
Russian guarantees, high wages for workers to return to Syrian phosphate mines

(Eqtsad)- Following the battles regime forces and Iranian militias supported by Russian air force fought against ISIS in the eastern Homs countryside, the regime began to reap outcomes of those battles and the price of lives that were lost during the battles in its ranks through the operation of phosphate mines in the district of Palmyra, Khnefes and al-Sharqiya mine.

Phosphate is considered one of the most important strategic resources in Syria. In 2010, Syria produced about 3.6 million tons annually to invest in the State Company for Phosphates, 600 - 700 thousand tons in Homs fertilizer plant for the production of phosphoric acid and the Treble Super Phosphate used locally. The remaining quantities of 3.2 million tons are exported externally, making Syria the fifth largest exporter of phosphate in the world by 2011.

The Khnefes mine ceased operation on May 21, 2015 after ISIS took over the region. Its investment was completely suspended even by the organization until the regime's forces recaptured the area in December 2016 and maintenance and rehabilitation of the crushers and train started to transport Phosphate from Khnefes to Tartous port.

-Russia is the only investor-

It is natural that Russia is the only investor in Syria after the services it provided to the regime in Damascus, preventing it from falling. Russia started imposing its conditions by signing a contract approved by the head of the regime between the General Organization of Geology and Mineral Resources in Syria and STNG Logistic Company subordinate to Stroytransgaz. The contract includes the execution of the necessary maintenance works for the mines and the provision of protection, production and transport services to the export port Selata in Lebanon.

The Russian company will be the only one to determine the transport costs and the number of vehicles that will work. The Iran has no bite from the phosphate cake in Syria in the presence of the Russian giant.

-Impact On Transport Trucks-

The transfer of phosphates is one of the most important works of freight cars in Syria. The mines have secured more than 1000 permanent jobs to transport phosphate from mines in rural Palmyra to Tartous port, Salata port in Lebanon and fertilizer factory.

But with the suspension of phosphate mines, the cars stopped working, making them vulnerable to exploitation of traders because there is no other work in regime-controlled areas.

Hisham Abu Ahmad, a truck driver from the city of Rastan, told Eqtsad, “ after the phosphate mines stopped working, traders took advantage of truck drivers and wages became almost non-existent due to their knowledge that there was no work in regime areas.”

“Once the phosphate mine starts working, the situation will certainly change. There will be no time for us to transfer to the traders account unless we are paid large sums. We will exploit the traders like they exploited us,” He added.

-Workers Return-

Phosphate mines provide great employment opportunities for Syrians including crushers workers, maintenance workers, packing workers and drivers. With the start of work on the maintenance of mines, more than 25 workers of the maintenance workers in the northern Homs were contacted were transferred directly to the mines to undertake the maintenance of the crushers.

A source that spoke on condition of anonymity told Eqtsad, “the head of the maintenance workshop at the mine told me to meet with the workers I know so that we could go back to work in the mine and our situation would be settled within hours by assurances from Russian officers. We have not been working since the suspension of mines, and were lured with material amounts that reached 75000 SP a month.

Drivers in the northern countryside of Homs are looking for similar offers to return to the labor market after a break of more than three years. (Reporting by Abdulkarim Ayoub)
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