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 a standstill for four months on the local market and abroad.
A sharp production fall was recorded during the first months of 2011, a consequence of the repeated sit-ins. Phosphate transportation to the ports for exportation or to the Tunisian Chemicals Group (GCT) production centres for processing were also completely paralysed.
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 tonnes, while the annual average has been of more than 7.5 million tonnes.
Moreover, he pointed out that Om Larayes and Redayef phosphate extraction and production centres have been totally inoperative for several months.
According to CPG figures, phosphate production did not exceed, since early January, 2.5 million tonnes, against 8 million tonnes for the same period in 2010.
The quantities of extracted phosphate dropped to less than 3 million tonnes, against 13 million tonnes in 2010.
Presently, in the face its inability to honour 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.