Shali Group in negotiations with MUN about future of its employees after it closed its doors at Otjihase and Matchless mines

WINDHOEK: The Shali Group is still in negotiations with the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) about the future of its 290 employees after it closed its doors at the Otjihase and Matchless mines on Monday.

The Group of Companies, which consists of Shali Mining and Shali Drilling, runs a contract with Weatherly International (WTI).

At the Otjihase mine, Shali does secondary mining, whereby already mined-out areas are backfilled.

In-between, backfilled areas are being extracted.

The mining method being used at the Matchless mine differs entirely from the Otjihase mine. This means that ore production, as well as waste production, take place.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Group, Jenny Comalie told Nampa on Wednesday that the retrenchments of its workers are still at an early stage.

“At this stage, it is still a very sensitive case, and we are in discussions with both the union and the workers. We are still negotiating,” she added.

Workers arrived at closed gates at the mines when they reported for duty on Monday.

MUN Regional Organizer Sakarias Simon confirmed to this agency that the union received a letter of notification about the retrenchments at the mines, and that positions were declared redundant.

However, the situation is still sketchy, he added.

“We have no information yet at this stage, but the parties will soon meet. We have to wait for the company to come out clearly about the retrenchments,” Simon stated.

WTI entered into an agreement with Shali in December 2010 to carry out mining activities.

In July 2010, the Weatherly board approved the restart of mining developments at the Matchless and Otjihase projects after recoverable reserves of 3.9 million tons at 1,7 per cent copper were confirmed, the company’s website shows.