Mopani Copper Mines Plc has refuted and described as inaccurate, reports that the company is currently retrenching huge numbers of staff due to the high cost of doing business.

In a statement yesterday, the company stated that it was constantly reviewing operational costs ensure the company can continue operating efficiently, safely and sustainably.

Mopani, the Kitwe-based Glencore subsidiary, explained that it had launched a Voluntary Separation of Service exercise two months ago for employees who wanted to take a voluntary separation package or go on early retirement.

This comes amidst reports that the mining giant was laying off non-essential staff in response to the rising cost of doing business in a competitive environment characterized by lacklustre copper prices on the international market.

The heightened speculation of mass redundancies has compelled several stakeholders, such as the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who have advised Mopani to reconsider the downsizing of its workforce.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc can confirm that we have continued reviewing the costs throughout the life cycle of our operation to ensure the company can continue to operate efficiently, safely and sustainably in the face of the current high operational costs. In October 2018, Mopani launched a Voluntary Separation of Service exercise for employees who wished to take a voluntary separation package or go on early retirement. We have been open about this process, which has been communicated to employees and the unions,” read the statement issued from Kitwe, Tuesday.

“46 of the employees, who applied and met the criteria for voluntary separation of service, were released in November, 2018. Our priority for now remains to optimise operations and ensure we have a mine that provides a return on investment and long-term benefits for all stakeholders. The stories currently circulating, reporting large numbers of retrenchments are inaccurate. We are looking forward to the fruition of our investments in three new shafts (Synclinorium, Mindola Deeps and Henderson Shaft in Mufulira) and a new concentrator. Once all projects are fully commissioned, we will improve our production levels, efficiencies and safety, in addition to extending the life of the mines.”