NUM officials told Reuters that the miner did not comply with agreed plans as they relate to severance packages, and that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) would “enforce compliance.”

“We are consulting with our lawyers as to what recourse we will take against DMR if they fail and Glencore succeeds with retrenchment,” NUM Deputy General Secretary William Mabapa told the news service.

The possible move to lodge a legal claim comes after Glencore’s announcement in early July that it would move forward with a closure plan for the Optimum operations, citing weak prices, and put some open-cast mines on care and maintenance. Should the market improve, operator officials told Reuters that they would examine reopening.

Optimum produces about 10 million metric tons (mt) of coal each year.