JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A month after South African diamond-mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) sold its Kimberley Mines, the National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM’s) Kimberley Mines Branch demanded a review of the sale process, with a march planned against the mine sale on January 14.
In December, DBCM sold its Northern Cape assets, including tailings dumps and a processing plant, for R102-million in cash to a 50.1:49.9 consortium comprising Kimberley-based surface diamond mining company Ekapa Mining and London-listed Petra Diamonds.
The NUM remained opposed to the move, claiming that DBCM had failed to consult the union or prove that it had exhausted all avenues of seeing to its profitability beyond 2018.
“We will demand that De Beers should sojourn the sale of this mine and restart the consultation process which entails, among others, compliance with Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act as a whole, ensuring the sustainable employment and job security of our members and exhausting other options instead of setting employees up for possible downward variation of the conditions of employment,” the NUM said in a statement on Tuesday.
This followed the mining major’s 2014 review of possible closure of the mine; developing other mining methods to extend the life; or selling the mine to a third party able to profitably mine the asset for the next 20 years.
The Kimberley Mines had no longer met DBCM’s strategy of holding large, long-life, low-cost assets and disposing of the operations as a going concern to lower-cost operators better suited to process the remaining resources ahead of the planned 2018 closure was considered the best route to avoid the job losses of its 600-plus employees.
Ekapa Mining CEO Jahn Hohne previously said the mine would be operated by the people of Kimberley for the benefit of the area and complied with the shareholding requirements pertaining to historically disadvantaged South Africans.
Mining Weekly Online reported that Ekapa expected to produce at a rate of 700 000 ct/y in the first three years, generating revenue of R920-million a year at a diamond price of $95/ct.
The NUM would hand over a memorandum to both De Beers and the Department of Mineral Resources respectively on January 14.