Skorpion, MUN at loggerheads

Vendanta Zinc International said the production ramp-down at Skorpion will happen progressively during April.

31 March 2020 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) yesterday called for the urgent intervention of president Hage Geingob after Skorpion Zinc Mine and Refinery said the mine will be placed in care and maintenance during April.

About 1 500 employees are affected by the decision by Vendanta Zinc International (VZI), the UK-based company that fully owns Skorpion.

Skorpion yesterday released a statement saying the mine and the MUN will continue to engage in line with the provisions of the Labour Act and on the basis of existing agreements.

VZI acquired Skorpion as part of the acquisition of Anglo American’s zinc business in 2011. It embarked on the SZ Pit 112 mine-life extension project in April 2017. The successful completion of the project and thus mine closure and refinery care and maintenance was envisaged for May 2020, according to the statement.

“However, significant events (pit stability) and inefficiencies (including labour disruptions) during this period have resulted in intermittent stoppages and/or delays which have in turn unfavourably extended the project timeline and significantly eroded project value,” VZI said.

Pit failure

According to VZI, Skorpion experienced a major open pit failure which resulted in an ore gap of four months – which thus required the stoppage of the refinery from November to January.

“The failure was safely and successfully mined out. However, more (smaller) failures have since occurred with the latest one in January 2020 sterilising a significant portion of the open pit. This has resulted in an ore gap in excess of 10 months. Further technical studies have indicated the existence of similar such failure structures at depth,” VZI said.

The company said production ramp-down will happen progressively during April, which overlaps with the country-wide lockdown of mines to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The chairperson on the Skorpion branch of the MUN, Petersen Kambinda, issued a statement saying mining contractor Basil Read’s contract with Skorpion was terminated on Friday night, affecting 400 employees.

Kambinda said the pit challenges are known and “have outlived the test of our times”.

“Business principles dictate that if mining activities and mining modus operandi are no longer financially viable, it becomes inevitable that you sell the mine to the next interesting mining investor,” he said.

The mine is unique in “several ways” and if placed on the market, “a lot of international mining investors will flock” to buy it, according to Kambinda.

According to the annual report of the Chamber of Mines in Namibia, Skorpion made a profit of N$238 million in 2018/19.

The mine paid a total of N$343 million in wages and salaries and spent N$1.27 billion on local procurement.

Similar News


Best deals to finance vehicles

13 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUNew vehicle sales in Namibia hit a record low due to consumers not being able to afford new vehicles and corporates not replacing their...


13 hours ago | Business

Exxon calls for carbon priceExxon Mobil Corp is pursuing carbon capture storage (CCS) hubs across Asia and has started talks with some countries with potential...

New Lexus LX available in SA next year

13 hours ago | Business

As the second model of the next generation of Lexus following the NX, Lexus held the world premiere of the new LX in the Kingdom...

New whistleblower accuses FB of wrongdoing

1 day - 25 October 2021 | Business

San Francisco - A former Facebook worker reportedly told US authorities Friday the platform has put profits before stopping problematic content, weeks after another whistleblower...

Flying green will be more expensive

1 day - 25 October 2021 | Business

Tangi Quemener - Under huge pressure to go green, the aviation industry needs to spend billions of dollars to become more climate-friendly in what risks...

Treasure hunt off Greenland for diamonds

1 day - 25 October 2021 | Business

Copenhagen - Greenland's seabed is being studied to see if it is home to marine diamonds, in a survey conducted on behalf of international diamond...

Company news in brief

1 day - 25 October 2021 | Business

Evergrande resumes work on projectsChina Evergrande Group said yesterday it had resumed work on more than 10 projects in six cities including Shenzhen - a...

Heimstädt steering road safety

4 days ago - 22 October 2021 | Business

Rivaldo KavangaHorst Heimstädt is the CEO of the Namibia Road Safety Forum, a private organisation which does extensive work in the Southern African Development Community...

FNB to strengthen its support to MSMEs

4 days ago - 22 October 2021 | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUProparco, a private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group), granted a EURIZ portfolio guarantee of N$ 68 million to...

Rising like a phoenix

4 days ago - 22 October 2021 | Business

Mariselle StofbergWilhelmine Mutorwa has used every opportunity she is given to become the best version of herself. For Wilhelmine Mutorwa, giving up has never been...

Latest News

Best deals to finance vehicles

13 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUNew vehicle sales in Namibia hit a record low due to consumers not being able to afford new vehicles and corporates not replacing their...

NUNW takes on Namcor over...

13 hours ago | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKEmployees of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), through the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), are challenging a...

‘Ghost’ defence attachés unmasked

13 hours ago | Ministries

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEKThe defence ministry finds itself in hot water after it was found...

The youthful fierce, female farmer

13 hours ago | People

Jeanette Diergaardt Sixteen-year-old farmer Elandri Kruger shares her love and passion for farming. Farming with Kalahari Reds and Brahman cattle, she showed off her...

South Africa to tackle climate...

13 hours ago | Economics

TIM COCKSSouth Africa will tell rich countries at climate talks this week to honour promises to help poorer nations go green and massively boost available...

Shipping greenhouse emissions to rise...

13 hours ago | Economics

STINE JACOBSENThe global shipping industry is on course to see its greenhouse gas emissions rise by around a fifth by 2050 if action including introducing...

EDITORIAL: Tyranny of the majority

13 hours ago | Opinion

While the essence of democracy is majority rule, the making of binding decisions that affect the rights of the minority cannot pass the test of...

Vox pop question:

13 hours ago | Opinion

Dauglous MilupiI would make it compulsory for employees to dress in an appropriate manner because uniform unites the whole team and reduces the chances of...

Youth activist’s questionable acts

13 hours ago | Youth

Monique Adams and Jeanette Diergaardt The After Break magazine start-up run by Rejoice Amutenya and Mehafo Amunyela will be implementing more strict measures to...

Load More