General and central managers of the Gafsa Phosphates Company (CPG) warned against the risks of their firm’s being unable, in three months’ time, to pay its employees whose number stands at 5,500, all categories included, as a result of the interrupted phosphate sales.
The company estimated the current year’s losses at 400 million dinars, because of the endless protest movements in the mining area.
CPG officials said, on Saturday, in a meeting with the national and regional media representatives, that the company’s trade operations were brought to a standstill for four months on the local market and abroad.
A sharp fall in production was recorded during the first months of 2011, as a result of repeated sit-ins.
Phosphate transportation to the ports for exportation or to the Tunisian Chemicals Group (GCT) production centers for processing was also completely paralyzed.
According to the CPG deputy general-manager, since the beginning of the year, the volume of phosphate sales on the domestic and foreign markets did not exceed 3 million tons, while the annual average has been of more than 7.5 million tons.
He also said that Om Larayes and Redayef phosphate extraction and production centers have been totally inoperative for several months.
According to CPG figures, phosphate production did not exceed, since early January, 2.5 million tons, against 8 million tons for the same period in 2010.
The quantities of extracted phosphate dropped to less than 3 million tons, against 13 million tons in 2010.
Presently, in the face of its inability to honor its commitments with its customers, the company is running the risk of losing such traditional markets like India, Poland, Iran and Turkey, the CPG officials lamented.