LUMWANA retrenches more than 80 miners

Copper Miner
Copper Miner

LUMWANA Mining Company Limited has retrenched more than 80 workers citing reduced exploration activities barely days after President Sata cautioned the Vedanta-owned Konkola Copper Mines to save 1,500 jobs.
Documentation in possession of the Zambia Daily Mail reveals that 73 of the retrenched workers are unionised while 10 were holding management positions.
According to a letter of termination of employment addressed to one of the affected workers dated October 29, 2013 and signed by Lumwana country exploration manager Roger Staley, the last day of work for the 83 employees was October 31, 2013.
Some officials at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security also confirmed in an interview that the workers have been retrenched and that the matter has been forwarded to the ministry headquarters.
Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda was not immediately available for a comment.
“Following the communication sessions held at Lumwana Exploration in regard to the future of exploration activities in the Australia Pacific region, I regretfully inform you that your position with the Exploration Group in Zambia is no longer required.
“As a consequence of this decision and the unavailability of an alternative position within the organisation, your employment with Lumwana Mining Company will cease effective 31st October 2013,” the letter reads in part.
The letter further says a severance payment will be made to the retrenched employees within 30 days of the employment termination date.
According to the letter, the retrenched workers were required to undergo all the activities scheduled in the coming week including exit formalities.
And some of the affected workers complained that Lumwana retrenched Zambian geologists and maintained all expatriate geologists.
They wondered at Lumwana’s rationale behind dismissing experienced Zambian geologists and maintaining expatriate workers who only have two years of experience in Zambia.
“All geologists who have been fired are Zambians, some with seven years of experience. Those expatriates are new and have two years of experience,” one of the retrenched workers, who sought anonymity for fear of being victimised, said.
President Sata on Tuesday warned multi-nationals to walk a tight rope regarding the matter of jobs in particular and taxes in general as reports mount that Zambia could be losing billions of kwacha from multi-nationals that either avoid to pay their dues to Zambia or simply evade tax.
Lumwana was bought off from Australian miner Equinox Minerals and it later became a 100 percent owner of the mining outfit after ZCCM offloaded its shares at US$160 million in 2011.
Quick Lumwana facts
•The MMD government approved Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX)’s purchase of the Lumwana copper mine as part of a C$7.3 billion (US$7.5 billion) takeover from Australia’s Equinox Minerals in 2011
•ZCCM  Investment Holdings agreed to sell its 2.28 percent stake in Equinox Minerals Limited to Barrick Gold Corporation for about US$160 million
•ZCCM lost its stake in Equinox as a result of the sale and other shares it indirectly owned in Equinox Minerals which has interests in Saudi Arabia
•Lumwana employs about 3,800 people directly and about 1,000 indirectly
•Lumwana has a huge stock-pile of uranium
•Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold digger, recently offered 163.5 million Barrick common shares at a price of US$18.35 per share.
•Gross proceeds of the offering will be approximately US$3.45 billion if the over-allotment option is exercised in full.
•Net proceeds to be received by Barrick will be approximately US$3.3 billion.
•Net proceeds from the offering will be used to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and improve the long-term liquidity position.
•Approximately US$2.6 billion of the proceeds will be available to redeem outstanding debt.
•The offering is expected to close on or about November 14
•Zambia is Africa’s number one copper producer though the majority shareholding lies in foreign hands
•President Sata has constantly expressed concern at the fact that Zambians do not get full benefits from mineral resources increasingly