Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines plans to close two shafts at its Nkana mine in Kitwe, the Glencore-owned company announced on Friday, a move that union sources say could affect more than 2,000 workers.
“We believe this approach will enable us focus on achieving both safe and productive outcomes which are essential to position Mopani for a successful future” according to an official statement.
Mopani suspended operations at its Mindola north shaft in February, after three workers were killed in a fire.
The company says the shafts had reached the end of their economic life and their closure had always been planned.
However, it added that action was being taken sooner than originally foreseen because its “limited resources” meant it could no longer afford to operate “old and inefficient” shafts.
“We anticipate that these measures will regrettably result in the loss of direct employee and contractor jobs” the statement supports.
Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) President, Joseph Chewe says the closure of the two shafts could affect 600 direct employees.
“If these workers are not re-deployed, then they will lose their jobs”, Chewe says.
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