Local Rössing jobs safe

China National Uranium Corporation says it has no intention to replace local Namibian employees with foreign nationals.

28 May 2019 | Business

ADOLF KAURE

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) on Thursday held a public hearing on the China National Uranium Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Rio Tinto Namibia’s stake in Rössing Uranium.

The discussion was held to inform stakeholders about the acquisition and provide the merging parties the opportunity to raise concerns.

The proposed transaction is that China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) will acquire 100% of Rio Tinto Namibian Holdings Limited’s 68.62% in Rössing Uranium and also acquire control over Rössing Uranium Limited.

CNUC vice-president Li Youliang said once the proposal was approved by the NaCC, he did not foresee Namibian employees being replaced by foreign nationals.

“Concerns are being raised that subsequent to the acquisition, the foreign company will replace Namibian employees in favour of foreign national employees.

“CNUC understands the importance of local employment to all stakeholders and especially Rössing Uranium’s employees. There is no intention to replace local Namibian employees with foreign nationals solely as a result of this transaction. In fact, CNUC has a strong commitment to maintain the current level of local employees,” he said.

He added that CNUC would comply with all Namibian labour laws and regulations once it acquires the mine.

“The transaction and CNUC’s long-term plans for Rössing Uranium will contribute the continued operation of the business for many years into the future, securing long-term employment for the workforce and wider benefits to the community.

“CNUC can confirm that post acquisition, Rössing Uranium will continue to comply with the stipulation of the Namibian labour act, the Affirmative Action Act and all other labour laws and regulations,” he said.

According to the NaCC’s director of mergers and acquisitions, Johannes Ashipala, there are four factors that determine the approval of a merger or acquisition.

“These factors include whether the merger substantially prevents or lessens competition in the relevant markets, acquiring or strengthening dominant position, whether there are any technological, efficiency or innovation gains by the merger and the NaCC assesses the publi- interest effects,” said Ashipala.

Other public concerns include prospective mining and generation of nuclear power, whether CNUC will make use of foreign procurement, and further acquisition of more exploration and mining licences in the Erongo Region by CNUC.

The NaCC will submit a report on the discussions to its board of commissioners. The board will then decide within 30 days whether to approve the acquisition.

If the acquisition is approved, it will be gazetted. If it is declined, the mine will face closure in June 2020.

Rössing Uranium’s current benefits to Namibia include local procurement of N$2.49 billion, a tax contribution of N$130 million, royalties of N$78 million, and employment for 923 people.

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