Skorpion Zinc says outsourcing necessary to extend life of mine

Windhoek-The owner of the Scorpion Zinc Mine in the //Karas Region, Vedanta Zinc International, says it has officially notified the relevant stakeholder of its intention to restructure the mine and refinery by outsourcing mining operations to a Tier 1 mining contractor with the heavy equipment necessary for the next phase of mine development, which is the Pit 112 mine life extension project.

According to the spokesperson for Skorpion Zinc, Nora Ndopu, the Pit 112 project will involve mining of waste rock to broaden and deepen the current Pit 103, which is expected to run out of mineable ore in June this year. Pit 112 will then access new mineable ore to extend the life of the mine for three years until 2020.

Were the Pit 112 project not to go ahead, the mine and refinery would have to close for a minimum of two years until another project to convert the refinery is finalised. A consequence of this would be retrenchment of Skorpion Zinc's full complement of approximately 1 500 employees (including contractors) by June 2017. As Skorpion Zinc does not have the heavy mining equipment needed to mine the large quantities of waste economically and within the required timeframe, and the cost of acquiring such equipment would render the Pit 112 project uneconomic, discussions are under way with a Tier 1 mining contractor with local experience to do the necessary work, Ndopu explained.

She added that with the change to contractor mining, a total of 278 employees within Skorpion Zinc's mining department will potentially be affected by retrenchments. However, it is expected of the contractor to create employment opportunities for approximately 450 Namibians for the Pit 112 project. The affected 278 employees will be given preference in this recruitment process.

In accordance with regulatory requirements, all relevant stakeholders have been informed about the restructuring. The Labour Commissioner, the representative trade union (MUN), and all affected individuals outside of the bargaining unit have been notified of the intended retrenchments. Engagements with the MUN and affected employees outside the bargaining unit have begun, with a view to reaching amicable solutions on ways to minimise the impact of the envisaged retrenchments, Ndopu explained.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia