Mine Suppliers and Contractors Association president Augustine Mubanga says the decision by Mopani Copper Mines to shut down operations at its Mindola North and Central shafts in Kitwe will lead to massive job losses.
In a notice to Mine Contractors last week, Mopani’s Supply Chain manager Sindiso Sichone notified mine contractors that the company had decided to cease operations at the two plants because it had no resources to keep the ineffective operations going on.
But in an interview, Mubanga said Mopani should have kept the two shafts running by improving their efficiency because closing them would affect a lot of lives.
“Mopani indicated in their statement that they were going to lay off 600 direct employees and more than 2,000 contract employees, meaning that about 15 companies that are working under those two shafts will be affected. These contractors are employing more than two thousand employees, so that’s quite an impact and obviously this goes with supply of goods and services. The contractors who are supplying services there at Mopani will lose their contracts and their workers will also lose jobs because those who are suppling goods to the mines will stop suppling goods, that is also another impact,” Mubanga said.
Mubanga said it was a sad moment for miners and contractors.
“Unfortunately this is their operation. Mopani owns the mines. So they feel they can do whatever they want. So it’s a bitter pill to swallow because you can’t watch more than two thousand employees who are employed by the contractors sent on the streets. We are saddened, very much saddened by the turn of events. It doesn’t matter whether there is lack of finance to run the operation but the impact on our people, the business community and staff is huge. So it shouldn’t be that they have engaged us and after engaging us then we are happy having to lose such kind of opportunities, employees and staff, no its a sad moment…They should have kept the mine running. That’s what we suggested to them; keep the mine running, improve on efficiency. Closing the mine will affect a lot of lives, this sudden closure has a lot of ripple effects which we feel that Mopani should have done more than just say that they were closing,” said Mubanga.