Skorpion Zinc faces losses of N$316m

12 March 2019 | Labour

The general manager of the Skorpion Zinc mine, Irvinne Simataa, says a recent strike by workers of Basil Read placed the future of the mine at risk.

The strike, which ended on Friday, involved approximately 400 workers in drilling and blasting, loading and hauling operations, and could cost the mine about N$316 million in lost production.

Workers accused the company of using overtime to inflate the salaries of some employees.

They also claimed that only employees working at the mine's plant received housing and remote areas allowances.

“This last strike has put Skorpion Zinc 14 days behind on its mining schedule and is anticipated to result in a US$22 million (N$316 million) overall loss for the business.

“With the impact on current ore stock levels and the lead time to restart mining operations, this has placed a huge risk on the viability of the business, with the temporary closure of the refinery imminent, due to the plant running out of material to treat. This in itself could result in the restructure and/or premature closure of the operations,” Simataa said.

He further encouraged the workers to return to work.

“We implore all workers, be it Skorpion Zinc employees or our business partner Basil Read's employees, to remain focused and committed to ensure an expedited resolution to all outstanding issues, so that everyone works together to see the delivery of the Pit 112 project and avert the premature closure of Skorpion Zinc,” he said.

Simataa called on the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) to engage Basil Read and Skorpion Zinc.

“We reiterate the call on the leadership of the MUN to engage with Basil Read and with Skorpion Zinc through existing channels, to ensure that the situation is resolved as rapidly as possible, and avoid future business disruptions and stoppages,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MUN has discouraged the strike.

“We told them (the workers) it was dangerous to be on an illegal strike, and convinced them to return to work while we are sorting out their grievances,” regional chairperson of the southern branch of the MUN, Shavuka Mbidhi, said.

“As a union, we do not condone illegal industrial actions,” he added, while imploring workers not to indulge in an illegal industrial action, because it might be detrimental.

Basil Read conducts blasting and drilling activities at the Skorpion Zinc mine.

OGONE TLHAGE

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