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Pending job losses at Northern Cape mine

File picture: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

Vedanta Zinc International says it is looking into absorbing workers at Gamsberg mine near Aggeneys who are affected by pending job losses, after it parted ways with one of its business partners – Aveng Moolmans.

VEDANTA Zinc International (VZI) said it was looking towards absorbing workers at Gamsberg mine in Aggeneys who are affected by pending job losses, after it parted ways with one of its business partners – Aveng Moolmans.

VZI stated that it had amicably parted ways with Aveng Moolmans, as they were unable to reach a commercial agreement between both parties to handle the reduced tonnages at the mine.

VZI head of business Laxman Shekhawat said a decision was taken to preserve the mine along with countless jobs and livelihoods of communities.

“The decision to part ways will result in a number of job losses for Aveng Moolmans employees. In light of this decision, it is important to note that VZI employees’ jobs and livelihoods will not be affected,” said Shekhawat.

“Vedanta Zinc International cannot confirm the number of people from Aveng Moolmans that are going to be affected by this process as this is up to Aveng Moolmans to determine.”

Shekhawat stated that VZI was negotiating with current business partners to absorb some of the affected people.

“We are looking for opportunities to transfer them to other Vedanta Zinc International projects. The affected employees will have to follow a job application process.”

He added that VZI was committed to retaining as many jobs as possible.

“We understand that this decision will disrupt many lives. Our priority is the preservation of as many jobs as possible. As a result, we have started a rigorous process of identifying vacancies across all our operations and across our business partners to ensure that we minimise the impact.”

Shekhawat indicated that the commercial agreement with Aveng Moolmans could not be concluded as the mine had achieved its milestone to increase output in the open pit and the old working underground areas.

“This milestone was achieved in November 2021 and will be completed in December 2021. This plan allowed us to increase our mining activities and take on board two new mining business partners. As we have achieved our milestone, the mine plan now requires a reduction in mining production.”

“After months-long negotiations and deliberations, we have taken the decision to part ways with Aveng Moolmans. These deliberations revealed that the financial impact of continuing our partnership with Aveng Moolmans would be detrimental to our business and consequent employment of many of our people.”

Shekhawat stated that Aveng Moolmans was currently working in the West and South Pit and feed to the crusher.

“The South Pit recovery will continue with Aveng Moolmans as this remains our first priority. The West pit mining will be managed by one of the existing contract business partners but will take time to deploy. The crusher feed will also be managed by a contract business partner.”

The $400-million investment Gamsberg project was reported to be the largest mining project in the country with an ore resource of 214 million tonnes, where more than 3,000 people were employed at the mine during 2018.

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